Young Artists Required
The Institute of Child Care Research is hosting an art competition for 5-18 year olds resident in Northern Ireland. Gift vouchers for the value of up to £100 will be awarded to winning entries, and the art work will be displayed on the ICCR website.
Entries must address one of four research themes: children and families; health and wellbeing; children in public care and adopted; and teenagers.
To enter, children need to download an entry form here, and send their art work together with a completed form to: Lisa Monaghan, ICCR, Queen’s University Belfast, 6 College Park, Belfast, BT7 1LP.
The closing date for entries is 31 May 2013, and winners will be notified by the end of June. Entries will be judged on creativity, artistic merit, and relevance to the theme.
CDPLPG's review selected as May 2013 featured Cochrane review
The Cochrane Developmental, Psychosocial and Learning Problems Group, which is based in ICCR and headed up by Geraldine Macdonald, recently published a review called 'Scared Straight' and other juvenile awareness programmes for preventing juvenile delinquency'. The review has been chosen as this month's featured Cochrane review. The review found that not only do these programmes fail to deter youth crime but they in fact make it more likely.
Professor Geraldine Macdonald, Director of the Institute of Child Care Research
International Award for Director
The Director of the Institute of Child Care Research at Queen’s has received an international award for work which has made an outstanding contribution to evidence-based practice.
Professor Geraldine Macdonald and colleagues were awarded the annual Leonard E Gibbs Award for the newly updated review Cognitive-Behavioural Interventions for Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused.
The review was carried out by Professor Macdonald in collaboration with Julian Higgins, Paul Ramchandani, Jeff Valentine, Latricia P Bronger, Paul Klein, Roland O'Daniel, Mark Pickering, Ben Rademaker, George Richardson and Matthew Taylor.
Professor Macdonald said: “We are delighted that the review has been recognised on the international stage. The aim of the review was to find out if cognitive-behavioural approaches (CBT) help reduce the negative impact of sexual abuse on children. The review, which contains data from 10 studies, confirms the potential of CBT to address the adverse consequences of child sexual abuse, but highlights the limitations of the evidence base and the need for more carefully conducted and better reported trials.”
This is the second time Professor Macdonald has received the award having been recognised in 2010 for the review, Treatment Foster Care for improving outcomes in children and young people, which she co-authored with William Turner.
Dr Leonard E Gibbs (1943 to 2008), Professor Emeritus of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, was an internationally recognised expert in the field of evidence-based practice. The Leonard E Gibbs Award honours the finest systematic review in social welfare published within the Campbell Collaboration, an international research network that produces systematic reviews of the effects of social interventions.
Invited speaker to the Royal Statistical Society
ICCR Research Fellow Helen McAneney was invited speaker to the Royal Statistical Society, Funding for Career Young Statisticians, on the 10th May. Helen is also attending the International Social Network Analysis Conference in Hamburg (Sunbelt XXXIII), 21-26th May 2013, where she will be presenting a poster.
(L –R) New staff members: Nina O’Neill, John Moriarty, Aisling Gough, Jennifer Hanratty, Siun Carden, Clare McGeady, Jennifer Robinson and Aideen Maguire
Celebrating grant success
The Institute of Child Care Research (ICCR) in the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work has plenty to celebrate in 2013. As well as turning 18 this year, eight new researchers have joined the Institute following a number of recent grant successes.
Its Director, Professor Geraldine Macdonald, said: “The Institute now has over 30 members of staff and we are delighted to welcome another eight dynamic new researchers as we celebrate recent successes in obtaining further grants.”
Funding has been received from the ESRC to investigate bereavement and grief, including child death, using data from the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study, Northern Ireland Mortality Study, and the Electronic Prescribing Database. John Moriarty and Dr Aideen Maguire have been recruited to work on this study.
Dr Nina O'Neill has also joined the team to work on a recent OFMDFM award examining the health and wellbeing of looked after children.
Funding has also been released for the final phase of the large scale randomised trial of the Lifestart programme, a structured child-centred programme that provides age-appropriate information and practical activity for parents of children aged from birth to five years of age. Clare McGeady and Jenny Robinson have joined the team to work on this study.
The ICCR staff team has also been successful in securing funds to conduct systematic reviews which include one on measurement tools and outcomes in autism and another on psychosocial interventions for maltreated children and adolescents. Dr Jennifer Hanratty joins the team to deliver on those.
Dr Aisling Gough has been recruited to work on an exciting new parenting project funded by the Public Health Agency while Dr Siun Cardin joins the team on a project looking at mobile phone use among looked after children.
Dr Laura Dunne presented a talk on the work of ICCR at the Northern Ireland Assembly, Stormont Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series on 7th February 2013.The presentation gave an overview of the main themes of our work and examples of key current pieces of work were also given.
If you would like to see the presentation, click here.
The Belfast Youth Development Survey (BYDS) conference will be held on 29th November 2012 in the Canada Room at Queen's University Belfast. The keynote speaker will be Professor Sir Michael Rutter. The team will be presenting the latest findings from the study within a policy context. Anyone interested in registering can do so via e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
At a glance 58: Therapeutic approaches to social work in residential child care settings
Porter, S., Holmes, V., McLaughlin, K., Lynn, F., Cardwell, C., Braiden, H. J., Doran, J. & Rogan, S (2012). A Randomised Controlled Trial Measuring the Effects of Music Therapy on the Communicative Skills of Children and Adolescents with Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties. Journal of Advanced Nursing, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2011.05936.
Dr Kathryn Higgins from the Institute of Child Care Research (ICCR: QUB Belfast) and Dr John Canavan from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (CFRC: NUI Galway) co-hosted an International Invited workshop in Cavan entitled: Evidence Informed Practice, Innovations and Creativity in Challenging Times.The event which ran from the 22nd to the 25th of April 2012 continued the work begun three years ago in Dartington and in 2010 in Ontario.
Thirteen teams from nine countries from around the world used this unique opportunity to discuss a range of cutting edge strategies for helping bring research evidence into the policy and practice communities. The opportunity was taken to exchange information about a range of approaches being used to promote evidence informed practice in services for children and families; to explored mechanisms which might be transferable across national and international contexts; to identify strategies for implementing evidence informed practice within practice organisations and analysed opportunities for future collaboration.
As part of ARK/Young Life and Times ‘Attitudes to Difference’ project in partnership with the National Children’s Bureau, Jonny was part of a team of 16-year old young researchers exploring attitudes towards ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland. Jonny’s experience of this lead to co-authoring a journal article with Dr Dirk Schubotz (ARK) and Claire McCartan (ICCR) and it was on the strength of this publication that he was invited to present a workshop on ‘Conducting Better Research – A Young Researcher’s Perspective on the Process of Participatory Peer Research’ at the international ‘Interpretation Claims in Qualitative Research: Positions, Strategies and Perspectives in (self) Critical Knowledge Production’ conference. Jonny, now a first year Economics student, really enjoyed the experience, “It seemed to go very well, everyone had a lot of questions about my experience etc, so the presentation appears to have been a hit!”.
The journal article can be accessed here: McCartan, C., Schubotz, D. & Murphy, J. (2012). The self-conscious researcher – post-modern perspectives of participatory research with young people. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13(1)
The Institute of Child Care Research, QUB and Barnardo’s Northern Ireland hosted a seminar on ‘Evaluation in Education’ with Professor Timothy Shanahan at Queen’s on 29th March 2012.
Tim is Professor of Urban Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he is Director of the Center for Literacy. Previously he was Director of Reading for the Chicago Public Schools and is past President of the International Reading Association. Prof Shanahan is an internationally recognized reading researcher, for more information visit Tim’s website.
The seminar also highlighted two examples of local literacy interventions – Ready to Learn (Barnardo’s Northern Ireland) and Wizard of Words (Barnardo’s Ireland, Dublin and Limerick). Pictured are: Julie Healy (Barnardo’s NI), Paul Murray (Atlantic Philanthropies) Professor Geraldine Macdonald (ICCR), Professor Timothy Shanahan and (Lynda Wilson (Barnardo’s NI).
On Wednesday 23rd November 2010, the Child Care Research Forum (CCRF) hosted a second successful conference in the ‘Made in Northern Ireland ‘series. The day, which took place at the Hilton Templepatrick, was hosted by Dr Kathryn Higgins, Assistant Director of the Institute of Child Care Research and Chair of the CCRF. The Conference was based on the six high level outcome areas of the Ten Year Strategy for Children and Young people and was supported by OFMDFM, NSPCC, HSC R&D and QUB.
The conference was officially opened by Junior Minister Gerry Kelly MLA of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and joint chair of the Ministerial Subcommittee on Children and Young People. Junior Minister Kelly iterated the importance for policy makers, practitioners and researchers of working together to deliver on the 10 year Strategy for children and young people, stating: 'Our department leads the way on issues affecting young lives. The evidence of that can be seen in policies such as UNCRC, Children and Young People’s Strategy and the associated cross-cutting action plan. It is vital that the link between research data and actions flowing from these critical areas of work are supportive of one another and informs the decisions which we as Ministers and the Executive reach'.
The second keynote speaker, Professor Sandra Nutley (University of Edinburgh), delivered a thought provoking discourse on the challenges to utilising best evidence to shape practice development and service delivery. She explored with the audience, some of fundamental but frequently asked questions in relation to research and practice: What counts as good evidence? What does evidence informed practice look like? What are the main challenges? And what do we know about what works to increase research use in practice settings? Professor Nutley reflected on the features of effective practice for the devolved administrations.
In the first on the day’s exhibition slots, Detective Chief Superintendent John Carnochan challenged the audience to re-evaluate how they understood violence and violence reduction. He suggested that, rather than being simply a matter for the police and courts, violence should be understood and treated as a public health problem. To illustrate his discussion, John told the poignant story of one young man’s life of neglect, deprivation and violence and how it inevitably led to him committing murder. He vividly spelt out the problems facing many young people living in deprived communities and graphically portrayed the life of violence that many experienced. He juxtaposed this young man’s life with the services that are available and clearly argued that the opportunity was largely missed to bring in interventions at a young age when they would be most effective and provide better outcomes for young people. John finished by praising the work that has been done, whilst highlighting the challenges for leadership, to look to outcomes rather than processes, for disciplines to work together for common goals and to work for prevention, rather than damage limitation.
The conference then broke into three parallel sessions, and seminars were held under the first three of the six high level outcomes: ‘Health’, ‘Enjoying Learning and Achieving’ and ‘Living in Safety and with Stability'. Following a convivial lunch break, delegates met once again in seminar sessions to hear presentations on the second three high level outcomes: ‘Economic and Environmental Wellbeing’, ‘Contributing to Community and Society’ and ‘Living in a Society which respects their Rights’.
In the afternoon, the second exhibition slot was an informative demonstration of the recently launched North South Child Protection Hub (www.nscph.com), an online child protection resource, which was developed under the auspices of the North South Ministerial Council. The Hub brings together research, policy and practice guidance, inspection reports, serious case reviews, court judgements, news articles and other material relevant to child protection published in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland together with material from Great Britain and Europe. The Hub was developed by the NSMC Child Protection Research and Knowledge Transfer sub-group in conjunction with Childlink Ltd, a private company based in West Belfast, and access to the Hub is available to fee paying members of Childlink Ltd. To find out details of membership costs contact the NSCPH at: +44(0)2890 243022 or email@example.com
The day finished with an inspiring presentation by a team of young researchers from the Children and Young People as Researchers Network (CYPAR), who highlighted some of the benefits that children and young people can bring to research, practice and policy development, as well as the personal and learning benefits for them as individuals. Bilal, Rachel and Lisa talked about their young person led study on body image. They were followed by Jason, a young person from VOYPIC (Voice of Young People in Care), who talked about his role as a peer reviewer on the RQIA inspections of care homes. Young people were there to demonstrate their learning and the benefits to young people of being involved as researchers. The session was closed by Sarah from VOYPIC who outlined a few other projects involving young researchers, benefits to the research of having young people involved and then how to join the Network. The session closed with a brief introduction to the Children and Young People as Researchers Network web pages, available at: www.ncb.org.uk/cypar, which has been developed by NCB, PlayBoard, NSPCC, Youth Action, VOYPIC and ARK.
The closing remarks were delivered by Colin Reid, the NSPCC Policy and Public Affairs Manager (NI), who thanked the delegates and stressed the importance of the made in belfast conference event in updating pracitioners and policy makers about key research developments in Northern Ireland. He spoke of the book of abstracts as an invaluable resource, particularly in our current economic climate, in which evidence based practice and policy has never been more important or necessary to ensuring scarce resources reach the most vulnerable. Judging by the tone of the constructive and encouraging feedback, the CCRF Conference Committee are glad that so many people found the day worth while and we look forward to meeting with many of you at our quarterly CCRF meetings (details of which can be found at www.qub.ac.uk/ccrf ). Thank You!
The Institute of Child Care Research would like to invite colleagues to the Northern Ireland premiere of: Three Way Street, a film about communicating with children and young people.
The film will be shown on Wednesday the 27th of October 2010 from 5pm until 6.30pm in Room 0G/026 in the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, 6 College Park, Belfast, BT7 1LP.
Three Way Street is a unique training film for professionals designed to develop confidence and competence in communicating with children and young people. The film, made with the active involvement of children and young people is aimed at doctors, social workers, teachers, police officers, lawyers, nursers and other health and social care professionals, and gives practical, evidence-based strategies to put children at the centre of three way communication. You can find out more and see clips of the film at: www.triangle.org.uk/threeway
This event is free and places are limited, so please RSVP to Aideen Gildea (Research Health Visitor) as soon as possible.
The ICCR in association with the Research Forum for the Child secured funding from STDU to host a training event on 6th and 7th September 2010 entitled “Communicating and consulting with disabled children and young people” in the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work. This was a very successful event attended by colleagues from a range of schools including Nursing, Law and Psychology. This training was provided by Triangle, Brighton and was led by Trudy Ward, a Consultant Nurse and expert in communication with disabled young people.
This year marks a milestone in the continued success of the Institute as staff celebrate 15 years of continued research practice. To mark this occasion, the ICCR have combined the annual report with an overview of the last 15 years to produce a combined booklet, “The Institute of Child Care Research: 15 years of Research Excellence 2010”. Assistant Director, Dr Kathy Higgins explains, “In this brochure we reflect upon the qualities, which we feel, have helped us improve and expand upon our world class research portfolio. We demonstrate how our position, embedded within the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast, has enabled us to expand our innovative research and effective knowledge transfer methodologies and we take time to introduce to our readers our current projects and future aspirations. We hope that they find this document as interesting and inspiring as we did in producing it. We look forward to continuing to work with our many research partners to produce effective outcomes for children and a further 15 years of research excellence”.
The issue of drug use will be the focus of two important events at Queen’s University next week.
On Monday 21 September, school teachers, health educationalists and drug prevention professionals will hear findings from the Youth Development Survey. They study questioned 4,000 teenagers in 43 schools in Northern Ireland about drug use. It found that by the age of 12 years, eight per cent of those questioned had used cannabis. This rose to 43 per cent by the age of 16, and 45 per cent by the age of 18.
Later in the week (Thursday 24-Saturday 26 September) researchers from across Europe will meet at Queen’s to discuss the latest developments in drugs-related issues at the 20th Annual Conference of the European Society for Social Drug Research.
The Youth Development Survey is one of the largest schools-based surveys of its kind in the UK or Ireland. It is conducted by the Institute of Child Care Research at Queen’s School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work and is funded by the Health and Social Care Research and Development, Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland.
Dr Patrick McCrystal, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Child Care Research, said: “Monday’s event will bring together educationalists and health professionals to discuss the onset and development of problem drug use among teenagers.
“A number of young people who took part in the Youth Development Survey appear to have developed a drug-using lifestyle by the age of 16 years.
“While the survey looks at the use of a number of drugs, the findings relating to cannabis are particularly interesting as cannabis is often considered the ‘gateway’ drug to more serious substance abuse. In nearly all cases, cannabis is the first illegal drug used by young people – and almost all of those who reported using cocaine or ecstacy also used cannabis. Levels of cannabis use by these young people is higher than among teenagers of the same age in the UK, Ireland and Europe.
“The cannabis users who took part in the study were more likely to be male, have weaker family bonds, and be less committed to school than those who did not use the drug. They were also more likely to have smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol to intoxication before the age of 16.
“Of the young people who had tried cannabis, around one in ten went on to use it on a weekly basis by the age of 16. The most common age for first trying cannabis is 15, and most of those who admitted using the drug obtained it from friends.
“These findings highlight the need to educate young people about the risks of experimenting with drugs. This event is an opportunity for the people who work with these teenagers in schools, health care and drugs prevention organisations, to consider the research findings and their implications for drugs education and prevention initiatives for young people in Northern Ireland.”
The 20th Annual Conference of the European Society for Social Drug Research will explore drugs policy, trends and patterns in drug use, drug using lifestyles, the availability of drugs and the structure of drug dealing networks.
The Youth Development Survey involved young people who attended schools in Belfast, Ballymena and Downpatrick. For more information on the Survey visit www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/YDS/
Dr Helga Sneddon from Queen's, pictured here with her son Tom, is asking parents with a baby under the age of one year to take part in the Lifestart Study.
Time is running out for parents to access the free advice and support on offer in a study being conducted by Queen’s University Belfast on behalf of the Lifestart Foundation.
Researchers are looking for parents with babies under 12 months to take part in one of the largest studies of families and parenting ever undertaken on the island of Ireland.
The aim of the Lifestart Study is to evaluate the Lifestart Home Based Parenting Programme. Those who participate will receive free feedback on their child’s development. Over 300 families have already signed up for the study. The researchers are particularly calling on parents in Derry, Dungiven, Enniskillen, Strabane, Limavady, Lifford, Letterkenny, Newtowncunningham, Inishowen, Donegal Town, Ballymunn (Dublin), Sligo, Offaly and Kildare to take part.
The study is being carried out jointly by the Institute of Child Care Research at Queen’s and the University’s Centre for Effective Education. Dr Helga Sneddon from the Institute of Child Care Research said: "The Lifestart programme aims to support families, with children aged from birth to five, through the ups and downs of parenting by helping them learn and understand more about their child’s development on a month by month basis.
“Of the 500 families we are seeking to take part in this research, 250 of them will be entered into the Lifestart programme. This will allow us to find out more about their experiences of parenting compared to those who are not involved in the Lifestart programme.
“The Lifestart Study will evaluate how well the Lifestart Home Based Parenting Programme works for parents and children. Rather than making assumptions about what we think parents need, we are giving them the opportunity to share directly with us their experiences and the type of support they find useful in their role as parents.
“Those families who volunteer to take part in The Lifestart Study will be visited by us in their homes during their child’s first year, again when the child is two, and finally when the child is five years old. Throughout this time, we will talk with mums and dads about their parenting experiences and be able to provide some useful free feedback to them on their child’s development.
“Participating in the study will help us improve early years parenting support and identify gaps in the services available to parents throughout Ireland. Anyone who is interested in taking part should contact us for more information before the end of June. From Northern Ireland freephone 0800 0855031 or text 07870 509677, from the Republic of Ireland freephone 1800 818 688 or text 08583 48617; or email firstname.lastname@example.org”
Pauline McClenaghan, Executive Director of the Lifestart Foundation, said: "This evaluation is very important to Lifestart and to local parents. We believe that the Lifestart Programme is a very useful resource for parents in that it provides them with information and tools to support their child’s learning and development. We at Lifestart are delighted that our programme has been chosen for this study."
The Lifestart Study is funded by Lifestart with support from Atlantic Philanthropies. Helga Sneddon is based at the Institute of Child Care Research within Queen’s and Sarah Miller is based in the Centre for Effective Education in the University’s School of Education.
The number of children being adopted from care in Northern Ireland has increased, according to the 'Care Pathways and Outcomes Study' by Queen’s University. However, Health Boards and Trusts vary dramatically in their decisions on long-term placements for children in care. The study explores the placements of the 374 children who were under five years old and in care in Northern Ireland in March 2000. It is the first study in Northern Ireland to look at an entire population of young people in a variety of care environments over a long period of time. Researchers followed their progress through foster care, adoption or return to birth parents.
‘From Care to Where? A Care Pathways and Outcomes Report for Practitioners’ was launched on Wednesday 26th of November in the Child Care Research Forum Conference, where all delegates received a copy of the report. It is aimed at practitioners and academics, and it is the first of three reports to be published on the study and is available at www.qub.ac.uk/cpo. A report for parents, and another for children and young people, will be made available before the end of the year.
Dr Dominic McSherry from the Institute of Child Care Research said: “Children in care deserve to be placed in an environment that meets their specific needs and supports them through what must be a difficult time in their childhood. This report should help inform the decisions of those who determine what care pathway is most appropriate for each child, and help ensure that every child in Northern Ireland receives the long-term placement that allows them to achieve their full potential."
Alicia Toal, Project Co-ordinator of Voice of Young People in Care, said: "It is vital that policy makers have access to good quality locally-based research into the needs of this vulnerable group of children. Given current restructuring within Health and Social Care, targets to reduce the numbers of children coming into care, and recent media coverage of failings within children’s services, this report contains a number of important findings that policy makers must now consider when making decisions about the long-term care of younger children."
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