The research programme has been initiated to contribute to the growing body of work around neglect and to introduce findings specific to adolescent neglect. 

depressed teenage boy

This research builds on our earlier work to investigate the lives of disadvantaged young people - in particular studies of young runaways and safeguarding teenagers (work we did in partnership with The University of York and the NSPCC).

Aims of the research programme

Overall, the research will aim to provide answers to the following questions:

  • What is 'adolescent neglect'?

  • How much adolescent neglect is there?

  • What are the contexts for adolescent neglect?

  • What are the outcomes of adolescent neglect?

Studies will be conducted to support the development of an improved conceptualisation of adolescent neglect which can act as the basis for better estimation of scale, support investigations of the contexts where neglect is more likely to take place and the impacts it has on young people who experience it.

Phases of the research programme

It is intended that this programme will extend over a number of years to explore different issues and to generate incremental learning about adolescent neglect.

The first phase, which included the design, piloting and administration of a new measure of young people’s experiences of parental care in a national school survey, culminated in 2016 with the publication of an initial report.

Read our Troubled teens report

Further phases of the work may include studies to look at:

  • different perspectives (those of young people, parents and professionals) on the parenting and neglect of adolescents

  • the experiences of sub-groups of young people where neglect might be expected to be more prevalent

  • the work of agencies in responding to adolescent neglect

The measure of parenting behaviours will be refined and redeployed in additional surveys over time to authoritatively determine the scale of adolescent neglect. 

We also intend to work with other partners to develop research on adolescent neglect as opportunities arise. In August 2016 we were commissioned by a local safeguarding children’s board (LSCB) in the South East to conduct a review of recent research on adolescent neglect and to provide information on effective assessment and intervention.

Further details of this project will be given here as they become available.

Expert advisory group

The research will be supported by a group of experts comprising representatives from the Department for Education, the Universities of York and Central Lancashire and the Institute of Education at University College London, a local authority youth services department, an ex-children and families social worker, a local safeguarding children board’s chairperson, and policy and operations colleagues from The Children’s Society.

Research partnership

Academics from the Social Policy Research Unit at the University of York will be working in partnership with researchers at The Children’s Society to develop the research programme over time.