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New study to look at improving social care for LGBTQ+ young people in England

A new study by the University of Birmingham will investigate the effectiveness of an online LGBTQ+ training course to improve social care for young people in England.

03/03/22

New study to look at improving social care for LGBTQ+ young people in England

A new study led by the University of Birmingham will evaluate the effectiveness of an online training programme for improving social workers’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs when working with LGBTQ+ young people.

Working in conjunction with What Works for Children’s Social Care, the study will determine the effectiveness of LGBTQ+ diversity training for social workers and its impact on practice with LGBTQ+ young people.

Previous research suggests that LGBTQ+ young people are more likely to connect with social care (including being a child in care) and face more significant health and wellbeing challenges than their peers, but social workers themselves have reported lacking the necessary skills or competency to meet their needs adequately, often because of not having received appropriate training.

Launching in April 2022, the study will form part of the wider LYPSA (LGBTQ+ Young People in Social care) project, and seeks to recruit 1,000 qualified social workers working in English local authority children’s social services. The study will assess whether an online training package will improve participants’ knowledge and attitudes in working with LGBTQ+ young people. The programme is CPD-accredited and will be provided free of charge.

Principal Investigator of the project, Dr Jason Schaub from the University of Birmingham, said the project was important due to the substantial impact professionals have on children.

“Social care works with around 400,000 children at any time, they have significant involvement in the lives of children and young people. LGBTQ+ young people have significant and specific needs, and we hope that this study will be one of the ways to help social work to better support these young people.”

In addition to What Works for Children’s Social Care, the study is informed by an advisory group that includes care experienced LGBTQ+ young people and children’s services representatives from various professional associations and support organisations, independent fostering agencies, and academics working in this area.

Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families said: “Social workers often work with LGBTQ+ young people so the launch of LYPSA will help identify knowledge gaps in our profession as well as help us understand the specific needs of the thousands of LGBTQ+ young people that will be supported by children's social care.”

The project team will also include Professor Paul Montgomery and Dr Willem Stander, both from the University of Birmingham.

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