NYAS work with students from across the country who are willing to explore issues affecting care-experienced young people as part of their studies. Their research often gives an insight into particular topics that can be of great use to NYAS and other partners.

The research projects below were facilitated by Interchange, a registered charity who connect voluntary sector organisations with students in higher education looking for research project opportunities. These projects were completed by undergraduate students from the University of Liverpool, in collaboration with NYAS.


Youth Homelessness: From support in a crisis, to support to avoid a crisis.

Leonie Townsend researched why care-experienced young people are more likely to experience homelessness than their peers. She analysed the impact of housing legislation and the COVID-19 pandemic, finding that past policy responses such as the ‘everybody in’ initiative only focused on the visible forms of homelessness, thereby neglecting the many forms of invisible homelessness. Through her research, Leonie reached the conclusion that there has been a historic and systemic failure to adequately support care-experienced young people from care to living independently, leaving them at risk of becoming homeless.

Read the full report here.

Brigita Petruskeviciute also looked into why care leavers are at greater risk of becoming homeless through analysing whether social services and local authorities provide the support that they’re statutorily obligated to as corporate parents. Brigita evaluated internal issues of the care system like the ineffective utilisation of pathway plans, as well as external issues including lack of funding and the scarcity of affordable and suitable accommodation for care leavers. Her exploration led her to conclude that internal challenges of the care system can more or less be evaluated and reformed, whereas addressing external factors will require central and local government bodies to collaborate to achieve change.

Read the full report here.

“Working with NYAS has been a delightful experience. All the members of staff I have had the opportunity to interact with have been incredibly pleasant, helpful, and down to earth. I have received massive support from NYAS all throughout and would highly recommend and encourage students to work with them in the future!”

                                                                                                – Brigita Petruskeviciute

‘Not In My Backyard’, How communities choose to welcome or reject vulnerable children.

In this report, Joanne Chetwood explored why communities often go to great lengths to stop vulnerable children moving into their area. She started her investigation by conceptualising stigma in order to gain a better understanding of why some communities object to building proposed residential children’s homes in their areas, and then analysed oppositional petitions and instances where these petitions were rejected by planning committees. Joanne concluded by calling for increased levels of public awareness on the subject of residential children’s homes and for local authorities and the media to work collaboratively to reduce the stigmatisation of care-experienced young people living in residential children’s homes.

Read the full report here.



Missing Children and Return Interviews – analysis of data in England and Wales

Two students, Jasmine Millard and Jiahao Zhou, researched Wales and England respectively, to gain a deeper insight into the effectiveness of return interviews. Their two reports look at the inconsistency of return interviews in the two countries and reveal comparative differences in legislation and policy.

Read the full England report here 

Read the full Wales report here 

Mental Health – the links between leaving care, entering adulthood and moving on from CAMHS

In this report, Isobel Hopwood outlines the challenges care leavers face during numerous transitions, and the ways in which stigma is an underlying theme that can exacerbate mental health during that journey. Isobel recommends where future research could shine a light on the specific challenges to mental health caused by stigma and the pressures of entering adulthood.

Read the full report here 


Care Leavers Policy – transition from children’s to adult services

Penny Rimmer carried out research into the level of support available to care leavers. Penny summarises some of the challenges and opportunities currently out there for young people leaving the care system. Penny concluded that local authorities are struggling to cope with providing services that offer individually centred care and support to young care leavers and those transitioning to adult services.

Read the full report here

The Child’s Journey through NYAS’ Contact Centres – considering the significance of the child’s voice throughout the process.

This project evaluated the impact of the voice of the child at the beginning, middle, and end of their contact journey, to uncover any barriers preventing the child from being heard. Hannah Nicholas concluded from her research that NYAS play a fundamental role in facilitating contact where there has been family separation and there is adequate opportunity for the child’s voice to be heard in the early stages of contact.

Read the full report here

If you are a student and think that your research could have a place here, please get in touch with Ben Twomey, our Head of Policy and Research at ben.twomey@nyas.net