Hearing the voices of looked after children: Considering the challenges of obtaining feedback on healthcare services

Bromley, Debbie; Sampson, Liz; Brettle-West, Jo; O'Reilly, Michelle - Journal of Child Health Care


The voices of Looked-After Children (LAC) are rarely heard in health services or research. Obtaining feedback on services from children and adolescents and involving them in decision-making is important; yet communicating with vulnerable groups, like LAC, is not straightforward. Improving communication practices and ways of gaining feedback can facilitate quality improvement across healthcare. Using focus groups with 49 LAC aged 5-17- years, we identified three core themes. First, feedback tools need to be child-centred and LAC-friendly; second, tools should be gender-neutral and developmentally appropriate; and third the current UK feedback tool was not fit for purpose. If feedback tools for children and adolescents are unfit for purpose, then any quality improvement and changes to services made are not sufficiently paying attention to this important population.