The effectiveness of children’s residential care - student views.
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This study sets out to explore current 4th year social care students perspectives on residential child care. The objectives of this study are: to explore these students’ perspectives’ on the effectiveness of the residential care system; To examine student’s views on the possible challenges and opportunities of working in the residential care system and to identify recommendations that may contribute to improving outcomes for children in care. This was a narrative study and the chosen method of data collection was the qualitative method. Interviewees were well suited to this study as they were in their 4th year of a social care degree. The participants were from Athlone Institute of Technology and Carlow Institute of Technology. The study consisted of 5 semi-structured interviews. The sampling method used for this study was a convenience sampling. The researcher was able to ensure they successfully accessed students with experience in the sector. The main findings are as follows: students had a varied views of the current system, ranging from negative to very positive. Student’s views were evidently shaped by past failings of the system reported in both the media and academic material. Concerns were raised about the lack of specialised services, especially mental health services for children in care. Students’ highlighted the improvement over the years in relation to opportunities available for staff, however student’s felt there was not enough support for children who were reaching 18 years of age. A consistent theme that emerged both in the literature review and in the findings centred on the importance of early intervention The findings from this study have led to recommendations for future research. These include opportunities for further training and an increase in resources to include emotional support and supervision outside the agency There was a sense of optimism with regards to registration, participants’ are looking forward to developments within the sector that they believe will improve outcomes for young people in care.
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