Shared Training and Assessment for well-being (STRAWB)

This pilot study was run by researchers from the Rees Centre (Nikki Luke and Valerie Dunn) and the University of Sussex (Robin Banerjee and Helen Drew) to test a new package called STrAWB (Shared Training and Assessment for Well-Being).

We worked with foster carers, social workers, young people, and mental health experts to develop the package, which aims to help the key adults in looked-after children’s lives to support their well-being.

The STrAWB package consists of:
a) A training course that brings together foster or kinship carers and teachers to increase their understanding of mental health and well-being;
b) A set of surveys completed by the carer, teacher, and the child, that tells us about different aspects of well-being both at home and at school; and
c) A mental health specialist who looks at all the answers to the surveys and uses these to create a profile of strengths and needs for each child, which is fed back to carers, teachers, and children’s social workers with practical recommendations for support.

In 2017-18, STrAWB was trialled in a small pilot study with 18 children.
Foster carers and teachers gave positive feedback: they particularly valued the opportunities for improved communication and integrated working. Examples of resulting changes to practice included securing counselling sessions on the basis of the evidence provided in a child’s profile, and re-locating teaching assistant work within the classroom to maintain peer relationships for another child.

What happens next?
We now need to know whether we can try out the STrAWB package with a large number of looked- after children to see if it is effective in improving well-being. In order to do this, we first have to run it with a smaller group in what is called a ‘feasibility trial’, to see whether everything works as it should and whether people are willing to be part of a research study on STrAWB. We have applied for funding to support this next stage of the project.