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Davara Lee Bennett

Name: Davara Lee Bennett

Based at: University of Liverpool, as part of the Liverpool and Lancaster Universities Collaboration for Public Health Research (LiLaC)

Supervisors: Professor David Taylor-Robinson, Professor Kate Morris & Dr Benjamin Barr

Project title: Inequalities in looked after children in England: local area studies to inform policy.

Project summary: There has been a dramatic rise in the number of children taken into local authority care in England in recent years. My project aims to investigate the drivers of, and responses to the rise at local area level, with a view to informing policy. As a first step, I am analysing trends in children entering care using routinely available data, adopting an inequalities lens. I am using fixed effects methods to assess whether, for example, changes in expenditure on children’s services are associated with changes in children entering care. I will then identify outlying local authorities for focused qualitative case-study work.

Practice engagement:Experience in a practice setting led me to this project. I was a keyworker in supported accommodation for young women, and worked closely with professionals within Children’s Services. Since beginning this PhD, conversations with Directors of Children’s Services have informed my research questions. Attending the local Mayoral Action Group Meetings on Fairness and Tackling Poverty has given me crucial insights into pressures and priorities on the frontline of practice. I am now planning a qualitative piece of work that privileges the insights of decision-makers within local authorities.

Public engagement: After attending science communication training, I supported a group of children to develop and run an activity based on my research topic. I am working to forge links with local organisations that work closely with members of the public, and am always seeking opportunities to present, and get feedback on, research outputs!

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