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Research to improve outcomes for Children, Young People and Families

Our research spans health, social care and education, and focuses on enhancing services, improving outcomes and evidencing impacts on children and families. The research group works closely with colleagues in the NHS, Local Authorities, the Third Sector, and national networks. We have research links with international partners in Scandinavia, the Middle East, the Far East, Europe and Australia.

Service user involvement
CYP@Salford continues to build on its established reputation for collaboration with children and young people in education and research through a model based on working with young people and the promotion of active citizenship.

Take part in the Action for Sick Children Study: children with on-going health needs here

Safeguarding children

 In this programme we are working with key partners to tackle neglect, child sexual abuse, and the impacts of substance misuse on children. Important aspects of this work include adopting a public health approach to safeguarding, and the provision of parallel support for parents with substance problems and their children.

 See safeguarding work in action In Cambodia



Go to the Child Sexual Abuse Hub for details of current safeguarding work.

Contact: Michael Murphy or Tony Long.

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The Pennine Acute Hospitals 


Outcomes of hospital-focused treatment and care

Research in the programme is designed to improve outcomes in a range of treatment areas, including quality of life for survivors of childhood brain tumours; children and young people attending A&E departments; families’ experiences of access and transitions between primary and secondary care setting; and the effect of making music for and with children in hospital. 

Contact: Joan Livesley, Andrew Rowland or Tony Long

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Public health in schools

RUDifferentWorking with an external partner, this research adopts RU Different? social marketing strategies to address young people’s risk behaviour in experimenting with drugs and alcohol; unsafe sex; smoking; and weapon-carrying. This research has extended to developing resilience in young people in relation to child sexual exploitation.

Contact Mike Ravey for more information.



Mental health care for young people

Research in this programme is designed to improve outcomes in a range of mental health issues through prevention and early intervention. Self-harm, suicide, young carers, the emotional aspects of female genital mutilation and acculturation are some of the issues that are included in our portfolio of research.

Contact Sue McAndrew for more information.

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Educating the children & young people workforce

In this field we are both innovating and evidencing the impact of developments in educating professionals to work with children and young people, including whole-curriculum transformation, and exploiting the powerful potential of hi-fidelity simulation (HFS). Young people are actively involved in this HFS.

Contact Amanda Miller for more information.

Establishing how health services could have the greatest positive impact on health and well-being for families of children with enduring physical needs: the view from the family’s world

The views and experiences of families are of vital importance to this work. There are different ways for families to participate (a 10 minute questionnaire, a family event, or as a case study) and we hope that you will feel able to help in some way.

  • For the parent/carer’s survey please use link 
  • For the children and young people’s survey please use link

For further information about the study please contact Katie Fenton,

Email: Mobile: 07541 314 485

A feasibility study of enhanced occupational therapy interventions for children and adolescents with central nervous system tumours in the first two years from diagnosis

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Study is designed to apply the skills of the OT to help children with a brain tumour in hospital, home and school in a way that is acceptable to patients, and which offers a much enhanced level of care. The project is establishing the feasibility of completing a raft of assessments, interventions and evaluations of outcomes in this patient population. Achieving harmonisation in approach between two treatment centres will open the way for a multi-centre intervention study.

Funded by NIHR Research for Patient Benefit

For more details contact Professor Tony Long

Investigating the impact of internal, external and environmental factors on children’s self-esteem and the link to health status, quality of life, and mental well-being

Brain_tumour2This project is a detailed exploration of factors that link to self-esteem in school-aged children and young people during the first three years following their diagnosis. To achieve this, self-esteem, health status, health-related quality of life, and psychological well-being are measured at a single point for 60 participants (and their parents or carers) by means of questionnaires and age-appropriate consultation techniques. For twenty children, these factors will be studied for a further year to establish any changes over time. Understanding the complex link between these factors will enable more optimal use of resources for psychosocial and educational support and enable more targeted interventions to be developed over time.

Funded byKidscan

For more details contact Professor Tony Long 

Evaluation of the LIME Music Medical Notes (2) and Songbirds Projects

LIME_Music The Medical Notes (2) project aims to provide children and young people aged 0-19 years at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital with sustained opportunities to explore, play, interact and create through music-making, supported by highly skilled Music for Health practitioners. The Songbirds project aims to improve the musical and wider development of early years children with acquired brain injury and long term ventilation at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital through creative music-making. A case study design enables multiple components to be evaluated, answering the key questions of what works in what circumstance with whom when considering the impact of music-making on enhancing resilience in children facing adversity due to their medical condition.

Funded by Music for Health and LIME Arts

For more details contact Dr Joan Livesley

Family experiences of children’s access to health services after implementation of the Health and Social Care Act 2012

Action for sick childrenA national survey followed by three regional structured family events, ending with interviews with key informants will establish parents’ perspectives on the process of accessing healthcare for their children, whether or not they experience healthcare which is commensurate with the requirements of the ASC Children’s Charter, and the degree to which children with mental health problems, disability, communication problems, or enduring health problems experience a health service designed to meet their additional needs.

Funded by Action for Sick Children

For more details contact: Joan Livesley, Professor Tony Long, Katie Fenton

Comparison of the expressed experiences of survivors of childhood medulloblastoma with measures of health and quality of life, and with issues identified during consultations: improving responses to problems 2014

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ActionforChildrenMeasures of health status, quality of life, and psychological wellbeing were completed with 21 patients aged 11-39 years followed by individual interviews to elicit the problems experienced since diagnosis. Medical records were scanned. Patients showed severely impaired health, with an increasing burden of disabling health problems. Diminished quality of life in most functions was evident: issues of psychosocial health (including social and school functioning) becoming greater problems than physical functioning. Deficits in cognitive functioning exerted a serious impact on quality of life, as did pain. Family functioning was negatively affected in almost all cases. Despite multiple physical and cognitive deficits, younger patients retained aspirations to achieve more in life, and they sought a more positive response from schools and services. For the adult group, the lifelong impact of the tumour and associated treatment predominated, followed by limited opportunities to secure work (linked to discrimination). The medical record focused more on oncological and endocrinological treatment, investigation, and physical functioning. Clinical text mining demonstrated the imbalance in perspectives of doctors and patients.

Funded by the Christie Hospital Paediatric Oncology Charitable Fund

Study completed in collaboration with the University of Manchester School of Computer Science

For more details contact Professor Tony Long 

The impact of Action for Children Supported Housing, Supported Tenancy and Pre-Tenancy Support services on outcomes for young women and their families (2011)

These three combined services were evaluated using documentary analysis, questionnaires and interviews with service staff, and arts-based focus groups with service users. The services impacted positively and in a lasting manner on the lives of those who accessed any of them. They were valued by external partners and referring agencies, and they were cost-effective when compared to valid alternative scenarios. An added value of the services was the heightened surveillance of young infants that had led to timely, early intervention to safeguard children while providing the necessary support to their mothers working towards being reunited with their babies.

Funded by Action for Children

For more details contact Dr Joan Livesley

Evaluation of the Royal Northern College of Music ‘Medical Notes’ project at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (2012)

music for health and LIME artsExploring outcomes for children, their families, staff and musicians involved in music-making activities with hospitalised children involved field-work observations; conversations with children, their families and members of staff; and individual and focus group interviews with project staff, play specialists, musicians and trainee musicians. A musical workshop was held in the Teen Zone to elicit views and opinions of young people. The calm, relaxation and distraction derived for the children were remarkable. Parents reported improved relationships, and they were able to express emotions that had been suppressed. Music-making exerted a humanising impact on the hospital environment. The health and music professionals had created and sustained effective working relationships. Teen Zone participants were particularly emphatic that music-making offered clear benefits for children and that it should be rolled out all areas of the hospital.

Funded byYouth Music

For more details contact Dr Joan Livesley

Exploration of what young people who are suicidal and their guardians want from mental health services 2013

Globally, the incidence of adolescent self-harm and suicide behaviour has increased. Large numbers of adolescents who self-harm do not seek professional help, and as the behaviour escalates so does the risk of suicide. Locally, a rise in reported and unreported rates of self-harm and a number of suspected child suicides prompted the commissioning of this project, the aim being to ascertain young people’s and guardians experiences of accessing help for self-harm and how future needs could best be met. Qualitative research, adopting interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA), was used to elicit narratives of those affected by self-harm. Data was collected via 1:1 interviews and analysed in two stages; analysis of each individual narrative and thematic analysis across the two groups. In conclusion, mental health nurses have a vital role in providing knowledge and support to those likely to have initial contact with this vulnerable group and to the wider population, ensuring this risky behaviour is more effectively addressed.

Funded by NHS Mersey

For more details contact Dr Sue McAndrew

Academic members


Doctoral students

Students supported by CYP@Salford are integral members of the research group, adding more internationality to our efforts, and exerting positive impacts on children, young people and families.

Viviane Hall

G forces during transportation of critically ill neonates

Ruth Berry

Improving outcomes from A/E attendance

Nicola Costello

Impact of Alexithymia on children with ASD

Nabeel Chaudhry

Helping social workers to work with neglect

Janet Wray

Working differently to improve screening for autism

Katie Fenton

G forces during transportation of critically ill neonates

Margaret Osborne

Inclusion of fathers with their newborn baby

Natalie Fairhurst

Parents participating in decision-making in NICU

Michaela Barnard

Support for parents who have been bereaved

Jason Vickers

Young people engaging in health consultation

Buthaina Aljehany

Enhancing teachers’ ability to manage T1DM

Nashi AlReshidi

Improving children’s knowledge of asthma

Nashi AlReshidi

Improving postoperative pain management for children

Nojoud AlReshidi

Improving initiation of breastfeeding

Duaa Hefni

Preventing obesity in schoolchildren

  • Four year longitudinal evaluation of the Action for Children UK Neglect Project (PDF)
  • The RNCM Medical Notes project at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital: outcomes for children, families, musicians and hospital staff (PDF)
  • Evaluation of the RU Different? social norms programme: Salford Authority, Year 9, summer 2012 (PDF)
  • Health needs analysis of Partington & Carrington children’s centre (PDF)
  • Evaluation of Blackpool Springboard project (PDF)
  • Evaluation of Blackpool Budget Holding Lead Practitioner project (PDF)
  • Extended Evaluation of the Blackpool Budget Holding Lead Practitioner Projects (PDF)
  • Evaluation of Blackpool Think Family projects (PDF)
  • The Pinnacle Project – an evaluation (PDF)
  • Understanding the children’s social care workforce (PDF)
  • Evaluation of Blackburn Over-8s Parenting Service (PDF)
  • Evaluation of teenage pregnancy intervention strategies in Wigan (PDF)
  • Exploring the impact and effectiveness of the Wirral Health Services in Schools (HSIS) Programme (PDF)
  • Evaluation of the Lancashire Holding Families project (Early Break) (PDF)
  • Evaluation of Trafford MAFSTs  (Trafford MBC)
  • Evaluation of the Action for Children Supported Housing, Supported Tenancy and Teenage Pregnancy Floating Support Services (PDF)
  • Evaluation of the Bolton Multi-Agency Referral Panels (MARPs) (PDF)

Learning with children, young people and adults about how we can keep them safe.

Healthcare decision-making involving children and young people can be a difficult process, especially in situations of serious illness. When children are ill, adults have an understandable desire to protect them from difficult decisions and to shield them from unpleasant information. Yet, children and  young people want and need to be heard by healthcare professionals and to be provided with age-appropriate explanations and information in order to help them cope with the consultation and treatment processes. There is a need for better training for professionals in dealing with both children and parents  and more research is needed into how participation works in practice and into the impact of factors such as social exclusion or other forms of disadvantage on participation.

This Not Just a Thought project has been co-produced and co-designed with children, young people and young adults from the outset.

The resources produced in the project will, we hope, make it easier for professionals to have discussions with children, young people and young adults about things that may be troubling them or may be troubling the professionals. Equally we hope that the resources and the transparent way

in which they are being released to the public, will give confidence to children, young people and young adults that their views will be listened to in professional interactions, and will give confidence to them to be able to speak-up about things that may be troubling them.

Over time, with dissemination of these resources and incorporation into a normal professional routine we hope that it might be possible for children, young people and young adults to declare at an earlier stage situations they are worried about. Equally we hope that these resources may, in the future,  help professionals to have better interactions with children, young people and young adults so that their chances of picking up, much earlier, people who are at risk of significant harm or who have suffered significant harm, will be higher.

Download the report on Not Just a Thought: A communication model

Download the report on Testing the Not Just a Thought model

Find out more from the Not Just a Thought website

A vision for a children’s advocacy centre in the North designed in co-production with local children and young people.

NHS England (North Region) commissioned the CYP@Salford research team to find out from children and young people (“the young consultants”), their views and opinions on the possible creation of a children’s advocacy centre in the North of England. From the start, the young consultants  preferred the term “Advocacy House” so this was adopted.

Evaluation Aim

The aim of the consultation was two-fold. The first was to find out from young people what they thought about the idea of an Advocacy House in the north of England (Manchester). The second to determine how young people could be involved in the co-design and co-production of such a house, from design  to the delivery and evaluation of services provided, if the concept was taken forward.


1. To explore children and young people’s understanding and meaning of the term advocacy

2. To establish in what circumstances they may have or would contact such a centre

3. To establish what such a centre may look like and what should be provided to ensure that it is acceptable to children and young people.

4. To establish the facilitators and barriers in them accessing such an advocacy centre.

The recommendations from the Advocacy House consultation were launched by NHS England (North) on 20 March 2018 in the following report:

Download the report on Children's and Young People's Advocacy House North