Professional Zone

'Your Life, Your Care' Survey

Do you want to improve the wellbeing and quality of the care experience of your looked after children?

Coram Voice and the University of Bristol have worked together, thanks to funding from the Hadley Trust, on the ‘Bright Spots’ programme, which aims to improve the care experience and wellbeing of children in care and care leavers by identifying and promoting 'bright spots' - the practices that have a positive influence on children and young people's wellbeing. 

To improve their care experience we recognised that we had to firstly identify what children and young people believed this was and a way to measure it. To do this we worked with young people to develop a survey, ‘Your Life, Your Care’, that measures the quality of their care experience and their sense of wellbeing. We aim for this to become the go to source of information on the quality of looked after children’s care experience and wellbeing. The survey is unique because:

  • Measures well-being and quality of care experience – YLYC is the only survey of its kind to provide an effective measure of looked after children’s well-being, capturing the quality of the care experience of children as young as four.
  • It helps local authorities demonstrate how they are meeting Ofsted requirements - Ofsted expects local authorities to ensure the views and experiences of children, young people influence service development and strategic thinking, this survey can do just that. It provides evidence of children and young people’s experience around many of the key criteria in the judgement relating to children looked after and achieving permanence and can help you demonstrate to inspectors how you are systematically listening to children.
  • It helps local authorities understand children’s experience of care and well-being, what is working well and where things could improve – we can analyse the data to help local authorities understand how their looked after children compare to: (a) general population (b) their own cohorts over time (by repeating the survey) and (c) children in care nationally.
  • It allows you to improve children’s care experience by focusing change where they say it is needed – in order to improve the care experience of looked after children, we subsequently support local authorities to understand the practical implications of survey findings and feed back to their young people the actions they will take as a result
  • It is designed by young people – the survey has been developed based on what 140 young people in care told the researchers was important to looked after children, through focus groups and interviews around the country.
  • It is strongly evidence based – the survey draws on two international literature reviews, conducted by the University of Bristol, of ‘Children and young people’s views of being in care’ and ‘Measuring well-being’, which informed the focus groups with young people. We have also used survey development experts to simplify and test questions and make sure our findings can be compared to national data.
  • It capture the experience of younger children – Through age appropriate questionnaires and a methodology using trusted adults it allows you to support children as young as four to share their experiences.
  • It will enable good practice ideas to be shared between local authorities – we will promote the positive practice (‘Bright Spots’) we identify and bring together participating local authorities to share learning and ‘Bright Spots’.
  • It will form the basis for a new child led service improvement framework – We want to use the experience of the local authorities involved to inform a national framework to measure and improve the well-being of children in care and care leavers. We will ensure that the data complements and enhances existing frameworks, such as DFE performance data and Ofsted’s scrutiny of local authorities.
  • It is quick and easy to complete – young people stressed the survey should not be too long. We carefully tested and chose questions, developing three age-appropriate questionnaires (for ages 4-7, 8-11 and 11-18) that only take an average of 10 minutes to complete. We ensured that children understood and interpreted the questions as intended through cognitive interviewing in the pilot phase.
  • It is confidential – the data is aggregated and no one will be able to identify what individual children have said; this increases the likelihood of more honest feedback.
  • Secure data handling: The online survey is administered through Bristol Online Surveys at the University of Bristol, providing a high level of security and adherence to EU data protection legislation.

Get in touch

If you want to find out more about Bright Spots or are interested in running the survey in your local authority, please get in touch with Linda Briheim-Crookall on 020 7239 7528 or email