Our evaluation and research

Coram’s Impact and Evaluation team carries out research and evaluation projects.

Our research and evaluation is of the highest quality and includes the voice of children and young people. The team works in partnership with public sector and third sector organisations, and also works across the Coram group of charities to help teams to evaluate their effectiveness.

The team has expertise in data analysis, qualitative and quantitative research methods and participatory research with children, young people, parents and professionals.

Find out more about Coram's Impact and Evaluation team.  

young boy with down syndrome painting

Our research has been used by government, third sector organisations and local authorities to:

  • develop support, training and guidance for adopters and kinship carers
  • help improve provision of statutory services for disabled children and their families
  • develop new national policies and guidance to support children who are excluded from school 
  • understand the first-hand experiences of children who are less heard and represented in research and policy

To commission research or evaluation work with us call please contact the team on 020 7520 0316 or at impactandevaluation@coram.org.uk.

Current and past projects

Young people’s views on knife crime (2019)

At Coram we believe it is vital that young people’s voices are at the heart of conversations about knife crime. In July and August 2019, Coram’s Impact and Evaluation team ran five focus groups with 45 young people living in London to get their views about knife crime. This briefing paper sets out the key findings of these focus groups to inform Coram’s knife crime event held on 25 September 2019.

Evaluation of a support programme for early permanence adopters and carers (2019)

The Care for Me First programme, funded by the Department for Education, aimed to improve early placement for young children via fostering for adoption and concurrent planning. The programme included preparation training for potential early permanence carers and support groups for early permanence carers and adopters supported by a specialist clinician. The team evaluated the programme through depth interviews with support group leads and clinicians, feedback from adoptive parents and carers and social workers. The final report can be found here.

Understanding sleep problems experienced by young people (2019)

A rapid review of literature was conducted by the team to find out what recent research tells us about sleep problems experienced by unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and children in care. The review, which was conducted from January to March 2019, aimed to understand the nature of the problems experienced by these young people to help with the development of the Coram Sleep Project. For both groups of children there were few studies found that focused on sleep problems specifically. Sleep issues were often a small part of studies about mental health more generally.

Unfair results: Pupil and parent views on school exclusion (2019)

This report looks at how behaviour expectations for pupils are communicated and managed and explores the views of both parents and children regarding the school exclusion process. It includes the views of children and young people with and without personal experience of exclusion on the appropriateness, fairness and effectiveness of exclusion.

The report recommends that no child should be out of school any longer than the start of the term following that in which they were permanently excluded. Coram is also calling for clearer national guidance on exclusion to be written with and for young people, to be provided by central government, schools and local authorities working together.

Coram's evaluation of the Young Carers in Schools Programme (2018)

Coram published a report highlighting the impact a programme in schools is having on young carers’ wellbeing, confidence and academic attainment. Coram conducted an online survey with 103 schools involved in the YCiS programme, 14 interviews with schools, local stakeholder organisations and staff in trailblazer sites that had observed young carers over several years, plus two focus groups with young carers. A summary can be found here

Think Siblings: findings from a national survey of adopters (2018)

Coram’s Impact and Evaluation team created an online survey for adopters in January 2017. The survey link was sent to adopters via Adoption UK, Coram and First4Adoption. There were 414 responses. All English regions were represented in the survey along with respondents living in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This report presents the findings from the survey.

Findings from a longitudinal study of early placements (2018)

This report presents the messages for policy and practice that were derived from the 2017/18 longitudinal research with parents who adopted their children through Coram’s concurrency programme. The research builds upon previous work conducted by Coram’s Impact and Evaluation team in 2011 and represents the first ever sample to be followed through concurrent planning over such a long period. Of the 12 adopters that participated in this latest wave of research, the majority (10) were also involved in the 2011 research facilitating a discussion of how their lives have evolved overtime. Additionally, for the first time, two young people shared their experiences of concurrency through qualitative interviews. Read the findings from a longitudinal study of early placements here.

 

Public attitudes to children in care: Results from a national survey (2018)

This report sets out results of survey work undertaken for Coram in summer 2017 to assess the general public’s views on children in care. Coram, the first children’s charity, has an ongoing commitment to raise and develop the public’s understanding of children in care, and these survey results contribute to that commitment.

A Better Relationship with Learning: an evaluation of the Young Carers in Schools Programme (2018)

Coram’s report highlights the positive impact a programme in schools is having on young carers’ wellbeing, confidence and academic attainment. The programme aims to improve the identification and support of young carers in schools across the country so that they get the help they need. It includes an online step-by-step guide for school leaders, teachers and non-teaching staff, with templates, tools and guidance and a Young Carers in Schools Award enabling schools to gain recognition for effective practice.

Understanding why young people participate in the Voices competition (2017)

Coram’s Impact & Evaluation Team carried out 11 interviews with young people who entered Voices. Voices is a writing competition specifically for children who have experience of the UK care system. Findings from these interviews found that young people felt that the competition paved a different path and unique way for them to share their views of the care system. Young people also felt that Coram Voice was committed in promoting their voice by actively sharing their entries with other people. Finally, young people described Voices as much more than a writing competition, it provided a chance to prove to themselves and to other people what children in care are capable of. Read Understanding why young people participate in the Voices competition here.

Investigating the Efficacy of Art and Music Therapy with Vulnerable Children and Young People (2017)

The Pears Foundation commissioned a systematic literature review, to evaluate the quantitative evidence base on the impact of art therapy and music therapy with vulnerable children and young people. The review discusses vulnerability in relation to five broad subject areas: adoption, attachment and parent-child bonding, mental health, behavioural and social interaction difficulties and special educational needs. Within these five categories, ten specific conditions and diagnoses are covered. A total of 51 studies were identified and explored within the review, which discusses their findings in detail as well as highlighting areas of future focus. Download the review: Investigating the Efficacy of Art and Music Therapy with Vulnerable Children and Young People.   

Innovation in Social Care Assessments for Disabled Children and Young People (2017)

As part of the Department for Education’s Social Care Innovation Programme Coram was commissioned by the Council for Disabled Children to evaluate the effectiveness of their programme to co-design new approaches to assess disabled children for statutory and non-statutory support. The programme involved five local authorities who tested new approaches with the aim of creating a more efficient and proportionate system for families. Read the Innovation in Social Care Assessments for Disabled Children report here.

Measuring the number of vulnerable children in England (2017)

Coram and Coram International helped to deliver the Office of the Children's Commissioner’s Report on Vulnerability, to enumerate and understand the  experiences of vulnerable children. Coram was one of four partners selected by the OCC to develop a framework for conceptualising the vulnerabilities experienced by children. As part of this stage Coram authored the retrospective review of definitions of vulnerability technical paper used by government.

Breaking the Cycle (2017)

An evaluation of After Adoption’s programme, delivered in the Midlands, that supports women who had at least one child adopted. Coram was commissioned to explore the effectiveness of the programme which offers one to one and group sessions focused on building women’s self-esteem and confidence. The evaluation used depth interviews and focus groups with the birth mothers.  

The Cornerstone Partnership (2017)

Coram’s evaluation of Cornerstone’s mentoring and Restorative Parenting Training schemes for adopters found that the programmes were viewed as high quality by adopters and social care professionals. Coram explored the effectiveness of the services through interviews with adopters, an online survey, focus groups with professionals and analysis of local authority data. The two schemes have run since the summer 2015 in partnership with seven adoption agencies. Read the Cornerstone Partnership evaluation report here.

Adoption Matching - Practice Guide (2016)

This report is a practice guide that draws upon the evidence obtained from a Department for Education-funded study of matching practice in adoption services. It identifies lessons from agencies that were placing children relatively quickly and develops a new approach to matching that incorporates these, in order to deliver training and to produce a practice guide. The paper describes how a regional approach to matching was developed based on these principles. In addition the guide gives the psychological basis for personalised matching based on an individual’s particular characteristics of risks, strengths and needs and discusses the importance of high quality linking and matching in creating a family for life. Read the Adoption Matching - Practice Guide here.

Raising Kinship Children (2016) 

Raising Kinship Children is a parenting programme, developed jointly between Grandparents Plus and PAC-UK for kinship carers who were raising kinship children who demonstrated challenging behaviour. Our evaluation of the intervention found all kinship carers benefitted from the ten week course in some form: either from gaining new parenting skills, increased confidence and wellbeing or a reduced feeling of isolation. Read the Raising Kinship Children report here.

An Investigation into the Impact of Arts & Cultural Education on Children Looked After (2016)

The team was commissioned by A New Direction to conduct an exploratory literature review to investigate the nature and impact of arts and cultural education on looked after children. The report was used to gain a better understanding of incorporating arts based activities into looked after children’s lives, and has been shared with the Department for Education and Arts Council England to support funding for A New Direction. Read the Investigation into the Impact of Arts & Cultural Education report here. 

Life Story Work (2015)

This research, conducted jointly between Coram and the University of Bristol, aimed to address the absence in the academic literature of adopters’ perspectives on their children’s life storybooks. The research uncovered a huge variance in experiences. Some adoptive parents reported their child’s Life Story Books as excellent, whereas others found the experience to be terrible. Read the Life Story Work research here or view Community Care's coverage of the Life Story Work study.

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