A qualitative evaluation study of the Sleep Project for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in Kent, UK: listening to practitioners' experiences

Hatzidimitriadou, E. and Carr, H. (2018) A qualitative evaluation study of the Sleep Project for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in Kent, UK: listening to practitioners' experiences. European Journal of Public Health, 28 (1). ISSN 1101-1262.

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Abstract

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and young people (UASC) experience harrowing journeys to a destination country seeking safety and refuge. Once in the host country, adapting to life in reception centres, foster families or supported housing, brings further challenges. Sleep difficulties is a recurring issue identified by both practitioners and young people. Lack of sleep and disturbed sleep have negative health and social/educational impact on young people. In this paper, we present the evaluation study of a Sleep Project intervention for UASC. The multi-agency intervention was introduced to support newly-arrived UASC in the Kent region, where there was a rapid increase in numbers since 2015. The aim of the evaluation was to explore practitioner experiences by identifying benefits, challenges, examples of good practice and transferable knowledge during the project. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 18 practitioners. Verbatim data were analysed thematically according to Attride-Stirling’s (2001) model. Findings suggest that the project encouraged conversations to develop between practitioners and young people, and between the young people themselves, normalising the sleep difficulties. It helped practitioners to feel more confident and equipped with skills to talk to the young people about sleep and allowed them to become more empathetic, specific and person-centred. Significantly, they reported that the project allowed them to ‘look at the basics’, that is, practical help such as providing night lights and educating young people about factors that hamper a good night’s sleep, whilst they gained greater understanding and responsiveness as to why young people could struggle with sleep. This has been important in shifting practitioners’ perceptions, particularly those in educational roles, helping them to be more patient and supportive to young people struggling to get to lessons on time and to concentrate. We conclude with recommendations about sustainability of this work, the project’s legacy, and opportunities to transfer gained knowledge to practice with other vulnerable populations.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV0640 Refugee problems
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV0040 Social service. Social work. Charity
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Prof Eleni Hatzidimitriadou
Date Deposited: 11 May 2018 14:16
Last Modified: 11 May 2018 14:16
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/17300

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00