PhD Studentship: Has the Early Help Agenda for Children and Families’ in Social Work, Worked?

Nottingham Trent University

Proposed Director of Studies: Professor Di Bailey

Expected REF Unit of Assessment: C22/A04

Project Summary:

Local authority children’s services aim is to make children and families lives’ safer and happier by focusing on opportunities for permanency, healthy development and wellbeing. Within government policy there is an increasing emphasis on early help services (Children and Families Act 2014, and Promoting the Health and Wellbeing of Looked After Children DH, 2011). Early help strategies are targeting promoting healthy development and wellbeing generally as well as early help for children and young people with specific needs e.g. mental health issues (Future In Mind, NHS England 2015).

Within Nottinghamshire, we know:

  • over 70% of initial assessments are completed within the required timescales and this performance is better than comparable Local Authorities 
  • there are lower numbers on Child Protection Plans for 12 months or more compared with comparable Local Authorities
  • there are comparatively more children on repeat plans than comparable authorities or in England generally.

In terms of adoption in Nottinghamshire, we know:

  • Children are being placed for adoption in a timely way with the average time between a child entering care and moving in with an adoptive family being lower than comparable authorities. This data suggests that Nottinghamshire is performing well in terms of offering help to children and young people at a relatively early stage and in a timely manner. However what remains to be established is whether good intentions as embodied in government policy and implemented through early help initiatives and targets really works in respect of promoting positive outcomes for children, young people and their families.

The aim of this project is therefore twofold:

  1. to explore whether early help services in Nottinghamshire are contributing to better outcomes for children and young people 
  2. to enhance understanding of what these positive outcomes look like from the different perspectives of policy makers, practitioners, children, young people and their families in order to influence an evidence informed approach to service delivery/configuration and the timing of early help

Specific qualifications/subject areas required of the applicants for this project (e.g. First degree in specific subject area):

UK 1st Class / 2.1 Bachelor’s degree (or UK equivalent according to NARIC) and /or UK Master’s degree with a minimum of a merit/commendation in a relevant subject area either psychology or social work.

Application deadline: 5pm (UK time) on 26th May 2017

Funding: This studentship competition is open to applicants who wish to study for a PhD on a full-time basis only. The studentship will pay UK/EU fees (currently set at £4,195 for 2017/18 and are revised annually) and provide a maintenance stipend linked to the RCUK rate (this is revised annually and is currently £14,553 for academic year 2017/18) for up to three years*. The studentships will be expected to commence in 2017. *Applications from non-EU students are welcome, but a successful non-EU candidate would be responsible for paying the difference between non-EU and UK/EU fees. (Fees for 2017/18 are £12,900 for non-EU students and £4,195 for UK/EU students)

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Midlands of England