What is the EXploring Innovation in Transition (EXIT) Study and what are we doing?
Research globally shows that life chances and opportunities for young people leaving care are impoverished, but can be improved with support to help their transition to adulthood. A 2018 DfE report highlights there are 40,000 care leavers in the UK. Improving their transition outcomes has been the focus of much recent Government policy, championing innovation to help young people navigate the change to adult life. In support, there are a number of innovation funds available to help Local Authorities, organisations and charities pilot new initiatives to see what works.
However, a common issue with innovation is that as ideas proliferate and many go on to be trialled, most will not sustain or develop beyond their initial pilot or locale. Our research explores why this happens, with the goal to improve understanding of how innovation for care leavers’ transition can best be supported to scale up and become part of widespread practice.
Helping new ideas take root and develop is crucial because significant public resource is directed towards innovation. Once resources have expired, innovation needs to become sustainable to make investment in initial trials worthwhile. A degree of trial and error always surrounds innovation since it is impossible to know what will work before trying it. Yet, understanding what helps or hinders innovation will enable policy makers and innovators to maximise opportunities for innovation to be sustainable so it can have lasting impact for young people leaving care.