Beyond the Headlines: Understanding Data

Year: 2020
Topic: Adoption, Child protection, Corporate parenting, Foster care, Kinship care, Legislation, Local authority, Looked after at home, Permanence
Author: CELCIS

This is the third in a series of briefings – Beyond the Headlines – that has been providing further information and analysis on commonly reported statistics relating to children and young people in need of care and protection in Scotland.

In this briefing, we discuss how headline statistics can be stark and emotive tools in illustrating the experiences faced by children, young people and adults with care experience and propose that this makes understanding the context of statistics important to ensure that they are fully understood and used in an ethical and responsible way.

The briefing raises the following questions for debate and discussion:

  • What is not known about children and young people in need of care and protection that would help services to better support them and their families, and how can work be taken forward to identify, collate and analyse this information?
  • What are the journeys and outcomes of children and young people in need of care and protection that we want to understand through longitudinal data collection and linkage of individualised children’s data?
  • What research, consultation and participation approaches have worked well in capturing the voice - views and experiences of children and young people – particularly younger children, disabled children, and children with additional support needs?
  • Current data appears to be limited to individual decisions and outcomes. How can we identify and analyse data about practices, services, and programmes and how these have been implemented so that we can assess their impact or otherwise?
  • How do we encourage and embed a more nuanced and sensitive analysis of data among leaders, managers, practitioners, community members and the media so that the needs, experiences and outcomes of children and young people, and the effectiveness of the services to support them, are better understood?

Read the related blog about how statistical data can give an incomplete story.