Published On: 24 May 2022

I’m thrilled to be joining the team as a Policy and Practice Officer. I’m already familiar with Race Equality Foundation through collaboration on my PhD research, looking at young people’s experiences of the Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities (SFSC) parenting programme.

The research has come about because we know that the articulation of goals and outcomes in parenting programmes are often dominated by adult perspectives and quantitative measurement. Despite being the main beneficiaries, the voices of children and young people, especially those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are largely absent from research and policy in this area. This group has been overlooked as key stakeholders who can determine and equally undermine the ‘success’ of these interventions. So if parenting programmes are to benefit whole families, there is a need for children and young people from minority ethnic communities to be meaningfully involved in the process and outcomes of such programmes.

The ambition of the PhD project is to co-produce an evaluation tool for SFSC with young people for young people, and in the process address the notable gap in research and practice. Therefore, research with young people in this area will contribute to new knowledge about their perspectives on parenting programmes. This research is well underway as I’m now entering my third and final year of study. With the support of SFSC facilitators and the researchers on the Together Study, we have been speaking with young people in co-production workshops over the last 18 months. We hope to pilot the new evaluation tool in SFSC programmes by next year and share the findings across academic and parenting programme networks.

Before studying for my PhD, I was working in mental health services as a senior assistant psychologist and planning to become a clinical psychologist. I’ve worked in adult in-patient and community services, early intervention for psychosis and child and adolescence services in different parts of the country. My last position was working in A&E and hospital wards doing mental health assessments and therapeutic interventions. Whilst I love this work, I have enjoyed the change of direction and different opportunities available since studying for a PhD. I’m still passionate about improving mental health services and psychological therapies for Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities as this remains an area of great need.

In my role as Policy and Practice Officer, I’m currently working on two projects with colleagues. The first is a project aiming to improve health outcomes for Black, Asian and minority ethnic people with learning disabilities. The second is in partnership with the Association of Young People’s Health to identify health inequalities experienced by young people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. I am looking forward to doing more co-production work on these products and seeing the recommendations that will be put forward.

Christie Garner

Christie Garner is a Policy & Practice Officer at the Race Equality Foundation.