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Co-production or adaptation of online interventions for foster care: Promoting the mental health and wellbeing of care-experienced children and young people

Principal Investigator

Dr Rhiannon Evans 


Dr. Dawn Mannay (Cardiff University); Maria Boffey (The Fostering Network); Charlotte Wooders (The Fostering Network); Lorna Stabler (Cardiff University); Rachel Vaughan (Cardiff University); Brittany Davies (CASCADE Voices)


Individuals who have been in care are at increased risk of poor wellbeing, diagnosable mental health conditions and suicide-related outcomes. While there are lots of support services and interventions available, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed some of their limitations. The majority of services have been delivered in person to date, and it is unclear how they can transition to online or blended delivery while meeting the changing needs of young people. There are particular considerations about how to best achieve meaningful engagement and how to conduct digital risk assessments to ensure child protection. Equity and access if a further issue, especially where young people may experience digital poverty or regulated access to phones or computers.


The study is a collaboration between Cardiff University and The Fostering Network Wales. It aims to understand the best processes for developing online mental health interventions for care-experienced young people or adapting them from in person to online/blended delivery. It seek to identify potential online/blended delivery interventions that can progress to further evaluation.

Research Questions

1. What are the processes for developing online interventions or adapting interventions from in person to online/blended delivery)? How feasible and acceptable are these processes to stakeholders?

2. How are the principles of co-production, child protection and risk assessment maintained when developing online interventions or adapting interventions from in person to online/blended delivery)? How feasible and acceptable is it for stakeholders to realise these principles?

3. What online/ blended delivery interventions are perceived to be effective, feasible and acceptable to stakeholders?

Study design

The proposed study has three inter-related research phases:

1. Qualitative semi-structured interviews with care-experienced young people, foster carers and social care professionals (n=30)

2. Stakeholder consultation with The Fostering Network Wales and CASCADE Voices

3. Co-production of 1) Guidance on the principles for developing and adapting online/blended interventions addressing care-experienced young people’s mental health; and 2) Research agenda for future intervention development, adaptation and evaluation.

Start date

1 October 2020

End date

31 December 2021