The government in Wales has set ambitious long-term goals to develop thriving, resilient, more equal communities where children and young people reach their full potential (Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act, 2015).
Improving the community’s well-being is seen as an essential step in reaching those goals, and there has been a raft of policy initiatives and legislation to support and improve well-being. The well-being definition is set out in a published statement that contains seven overall goals with 46 indicators and an outcome-based approach to measuring national progress.
Many of the outcomes are collected nationally using data from the National Survey for Wales but only those over 16 years of age are surveyed. The Children and Young People’s Monitor for Wales (2015) highlighted the limited information available on specific topics such as safety at home, and a dearth of national information on children’s own views and experiences. Knowing how children feel, think, and experience their lives is crucial to understanding well-being.
More recently attention has been paid to the well-being of looked after children in Wales with the implementation of The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act, which came into force on 6th April 2016. The Act requires local authorities to promote the well-being of children and adults who need support. The Act builds on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and requires local authorities to have conversations with children about things that matter to them.
Reference: Selwyn, J. Magnus, L. Symonds, J. & Briheim-Crookall, L. (2018). Our lives, our care: Looked after children’s views on their well-being. London: Coram Voice
In 2018, six Welsh local authorities (Caerphilly, Cardiff, Flintshire, Pembrokeshire, Rhondda Cynon Taff, and Swansea) agreed to pilot the ‘Your Life, Your Care’ surveys with looked after children and young people aged between 4 years and 18 years.
The surveys were designed with children and young people in care to collect information on how looked after children felt and thought about their well-being (subjective well-being), based on the things that were important to them.
The Welsh pilot was intended to assess the survey’s relevance and usefulness for local authorities in their efforts to improve outcomes for the children in their care.
This report sets out the background to the pilot in Wales, the original development of the surveys, the response of children and young people in Wales to the questions, and summarises the findings.
Frankly, we really like this survey [there are no explanatory suggestions academic or otherwise to the responses - but that was not the purpose]. The Bristol University team as always provides a robust and ethically appropriate methodology and produces, once again, an authentic representation of looked after children's opinions.
We do hope that students and practitioners, as well as policymakers, actually read the things these young people say.