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The Administrative Data Research Network is an ESRC-funded project that ran from October 2013 - July 2018. It is currently at the end of its funding cycle and is no longer taking applications. Administrative data research will be taken forward in a new project, to be launched later in 2018.

Does local authority care make a difference to the lives of vulnerable children? Longitudinal analyses of a retrospective electronic cohort.

Research overview

The proposed project takes an innovative longitudinal approach to explore the impact of local authority care and adverse experiences on young peoples’ educational attainment and healthcare usage

This project will combine administrative datasets on educational achievement and health events with routinely collected children’s social care data.


By exploring the effects of local authority care on children’s outcomes, policy makers and practitioners can design and deliver better services, with the integration of health and social care being a key priority for Wales (Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act, 2016), the UK (Health and Social Care Act, 2012) and internationally.

Ultimately, this project has the potential to improve the outcomes and wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable children in Wales.

More about the project

The study has three key drivers.

Firstly, by exploring the population of looked after children, it will address the lack of large-scale quantitative social care studies in the UK.

Secondly, by comparing outcomes of those who receive different kinds of local authority intervention and young people who experience adverse conditions but are not looked after, it aims to unpack the extent to which healthcare usage and education outcomes are a result of pre-care adverse experiences, or experiences of care itself.

Thirdly, this study will attempt to longitudinally examine the role of care histories on educational achievement and healthcare usage.

Date approved

March 2017

Research team/lead researcher

Dr Sara Long (Cardiff University)

Page last updated: 24/10/2017