Evaluation of Barnardo’s Safe Accommodation Project for Sexually Exploited and Trafficked Young People
In 2011 Barnardo’s received grant funding from the Department for Education to deliver a two-year ‘Safe Accommodation Project’ in response to concerns relating to levels of appropriate training for all care givers, and how specialist foster care can be developed to address the specific vulnerabilities and safeguarding needs of young people at risk, or victims, of child sexual exploitation (CSE) and/or trafficking. The project was evaluated by the International Centre for the Study of Sexually Exploited and Trafficked Young People, at the University of Bedfordshire. The main aims of the evaluation were to:
– use findings formatively to contribute to the development of the project and any future work;
– identify outcomes and how these were achieved; and
– identify the potential of the specialist foster placements to offer a cost-effective and safe alternative to other forms of local authority care for young people at risk, or victims, of sexual exploitation and/or trafficking.
A realist evaluation approach was taken to evaluating the specialist foster placements. This involved gathering mostly qualitative data to identify the key mechanisms and contexts of change that underpinned the outcomes achieved within and across placements. Data was collected in the form of interviews with young people, specialist foster carers, project workers, and local authority (LA) and Barnardo’s social workers, as well as weekly monitoring logs. Although the findings should not be widely generalised, this data was used to identify key theories of change about how future specialist placements can learn from the project.