Centre for Children in Vulnerable Situations | CCVS

CCVS | Centre for Children in Vulnerable SituationsCentre for Children in Vulnerable Situations (CCVS) is an interuniversity research centre (Ghent University, KULeuven and Vrije Universiteit Brussel), aiming at promoting the psychosocial wellbeing of children living in vulnerable situations in Southern countries. Within a context-oriented framework, three closely related pillars of activities are central: research (e.g. studies on war-affected children, victims of sexual violence, former child soldiers, street children, child labourers - in different countries, including Eastern Congo, Northern Uganda, India, Palestine and Bolivia); support for children and youth and their contexts (Eastern Congo and Northern Uganda), and, thirdly, a wide dissemination of our findings and experiences.

Promoter(s): Prof. Ilse Derluyn
Researcher(s)/contact: Leen De Nutte

The impact of flight experiences on the psychological wellbeing of unaccompanied refugee minors | CHILDMOVE

CHILDMOVE | The impact of flight experiences on the psychological wellbeing of unaccompanied refugee minorsWorldwide, about 30 million children are currently forcibly displaced, of which a considerable group is separated from their parent(s) or caregiver(s), "unaccompanied refugee minors" (URM). Forced migration is known to considerably impact URMs' psychological wellbeing, leading to elevated levels of emotional problems. Both difficult experiences in URMs' countries of origin and post-migration stressors, such as daily material (e.g., limited housing facilities) and social stressors (e.g., limited social network, racism), and inadequate professional support impact their wellbeing. Yet, little is known about the longitudinal psychological impact of URMs' transit experiences, during the flight. The objective of this study is therefore is to increase the knowledge about the impact of experiences occurring during the flight on the psychological wellbeing of URMs, in relation to the impact of past traumatic experiences in the home country and to daily material and social stressors in the host country. This project uses a highly innovative methodology, through combining different approaches in a mixed-methods and multi-sited, cross-country and longitudinal design. The project is made up of three interlinked studies starting from four different countries: Libya, Greece, and Italy as key transit countries and Belgium as an example of a settlement country for URMs.

Promoter(s): Prof. Ilse Derluyn
Researcher(s)/contact: Sarah Adeyinka, Malte Behrendt, prof. dr. Ine Lietaert, dr. Marina Rota, Océane Uzureau, dr. Floor Verhaeghe
Periode of time: Februari 2017 - Februari 2022

Community sports for AT-risk youth: innovative strategies for improving personal development, health and social CoHesion | CATCH

CATCH | Community sports for AT-risk youth: innovative strategies for improving personal development, health and social CoHesionCATCH is an interdisciplinary and interuniversity strategic basic research project (2016-2020) carried out by the Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy (Ghent University), the Department of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care (Ghent University) and the research group Sport and Society (Free University of Brussels). Starting from the three research lines (health, personal development and social cohesion), the research focusses on the main research question: 'What are working mechanisms and facilitating conditions which are inherent to community based sport activities and contribute to the social inclusion of socially vulnerable youth (15-25 years) and how can these be applied into existing community sport practices?'. The research project, which is subsidized by the Flemish government, aspires to give input to research, as well as to practice and policy.
The department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy contributes to the research line of social cohesion, by putting the following questions up front: (1) which conceptualizations of social cohesion can be found in community sport practices?; (2) How do community sport practices contribute to social cohesion?; (3) Which role do (community) sport practices get/have in order to enhance social cohesion?

Promoter(s): Prof. Rudi Roose, Prof. Lieve Bradt
Researcher(s)/contact: Shana Sabbe

Research Foundation Flanders | FWO

FWO | Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek

Transitions to preschool for children in poverty

Research project funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO, Research Project Child Poverty).
Qualitative research project about the first school and learning experiences of children in poverty transitioning to pre-primary Education in Flanders. The study aims at unravelling the offered and missed learning opportunities for these children and the specific mechanisms that facilitate or hinder the reproduction of social inequality in kindergarten. By so doing, the study wants to draw implications and recommendations for practice and teacher training programs. 

Promoter(s): Michel Vandenbroeck, Piet Van Avermaet
Researcher(s)/contact: Brecht Peleman

INclusive Holistic care for REfugee and migrant victims of sexual violence in Belgium and the UK | INHeRE

Migrants, Applicants of International Protection and Refugees (MAR) are at high risk of sexual victimization (SV) prior to but also upon arrival in Europe. Adopting an integrated and holistic approach (i.e. encompassing forensic, medical and psychosocial care) from detection to follow-up has been recognized as the best care for all SV victims, including victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. However, the access to holistic care for MAR victims is hampered by a broad range of barriers.

Health care providers, law enforcement officials and cultural mediators/interpreters working with MAR victims of sexual violence, often lack the specialist knowledge, language skills and tools to provide and/or refer to inclusive holistic care to MAR SV victims. Capacity building of key professionals working with vulnerable MAR victims of SV/ST through tailored tools and by streamlining care pathways between professions is thus urgently needed.

We are involved in a mapping and a rapid appraisal of national laws, policies and practices regarding reporting and hearings of (un)documented MAR victims of SV and ST. This will result in the development of good practice scripts.

Researcher(s)/contact: Ilse Derluyn, An Verelst, Gaëlle Le Pavic

Youth Research Platform

JOP | JeugdonderzoeksplatformThe Youth Research Platform is a policy-oriented research centre subsidized by the Flemish government. It is an interdisciplinary cooperation between three academic research groups: Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy (Ghent University), Research group ‘Tempus Omnia Revelat’ (Department of Sociology – Free University of Brussels), Research Line Youth Criminology, Leuven Institute of Criminology (Leuven University). The Youth Research Platform has been assigned three main tasks:

  1. inventory of existing youth research,
  2. the construction of a survey, which recurrently monitors the lifeworld, conditions and activities of Flemish youth (“the JOP-monitor’ and the ‘JOP-schoolmonitor’) and,
  3. the development of an international dimension

The Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy contributes to the inventorisation of youth research, in particular pedagogical and social work research concerning youth, in an online database. Within the JOP-monitor the department mainly focuses on the study of (the policy for) young people in relation to the three main educational contexts (family, school and leisure) and the formal and informal support. The department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy takes up the coordination of the Youth Research Platform. The coordinator is also the national correspondent for The European Knowledge Centre on Youth Policy and is member of the Pool of European Youth Researchers (PEYR).

Promoter(s): Prof. dr. Maria De Bie (promoter-coördinator), dr. Lieve Bradt (project-coordinator)
Researcher(s)/contact: Annelore Van der Eecken, Robin Kemper

Children's Rights Knowledge Centre (KeKi)

KeKi | Kenniscentrum Kinderrechten vzwThe Children's Rights Knowledge Centre (KeKi) aims to gather, make available, disseminate and stimulate knowledge about children's rights. Since the start up in 2010, a interuniversity platform is the basis of KeKi. The platform has 5 members: the university of Antwerp (Universiteit Antwerpen), University of Brussels (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), University of Ghent (Universiteit Gent), University college of Ghent (Hogeschool Gent) and the University of Leuven (KU Leuven). The decree of a 'new youth- and children's rights policy' (2012) gives the opportunity to KeKi to be more than a scientific organisation. We are foremost the bridge between scientifically research, policies and practices about children's rights. KeKi understands building a bridge as (1) building scientifically expertise about children's rights (for example: through our online database), (2) communicating of scientifically results in user friendly tools and education (for example: Research On Stage), (3) advising and supporting the Flemish youth- and children's policy and non-profit organisations (for example: through writing policy-advises based on scientifically research).

Researcher(s)/contact: Kathy Vlieghe

Measuring and Monitoring Quality in child care | MeMoQ

MeMoQ | Meten en Monitoren van de Kwaliteit in de Kinderopvang voor baby's en peutersMeMoQ is a research project commissioned by the governmental agency Child and Family and is carried out in collaboration with the University of Louvain.
The project elaborated a framework for child care in the Flemish community and designed instruments for the measurement of educational quality. These instruments will be used in a baseline study. Eventually tools for the monitoring and the coaching of provision will also be designed.

Promoter(s): Michel Vandenbroeck
Researcher(s)/contact: Jeroen Janssen, Hester Hulpia, Charlotte Bastiaan

Patterns of drug use among ethnic and cultural minorities | PADUMI-project

The PADUMI project focuses on the study of the patterns of substance use among ethnic and cultural minorities. More specifically, we want to establish accurate information on the extent of drug use and its possible determinants.
The first general objective of this research is to contribute to a better understanding of the prevalence and nature of drug use among ethnic and cultural minorities (ECM) in Belgium and to unveil the determining factors behind substance use (illicit drugs and alcohol). Additionally we want to increase ECM capacity in raising awareness and knowledge about drug issues within the participants’ own communities. The last general objective is to assess the needs of ECM and articulate them with the actors responsible for planning services.
The PADUMI project is conducted through four case studies: the Turkish community in Gent, the East-European community in Gent, the Congolese community in Brussel, undocumented migrants in Belgium.

Promoter(s): Prof. Ilse Derluyn
Researcher(s)/contact: Bert Hauspie

Preventive school-based interventions to promote the mental well-being of refugee and migrant adolescents | RefugeesWellSchool

RefugeesWellSchoolRefugeesWellSchool is a European Horizon2020 project (agreement no. 75484) carried out by seven partners in Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Its objective is to advance the evidence-base on the role of preventive, school-based interventions in promoting refugee and migrant adolescents' mental well-being, and on how they can be implemented in educational settings. The project evaluates the effectiveness and implementation of five interventions:

  1. In-Service Teacher Training and Teaching Recovery Techniques
  2. Classroom Drama
  3. Welcome to School programme
  4. Enhancing Peer Interactions and Social Capital programme
  5. In-service Teacher Training

We look at effectiveness in terms of mental well-being, and aim at reducing mental health problems of refugee and migrant adolescents, as well as increasing resilience, social support networks, positive relationships, and school belonging.

PromotorProf. dr. Ilse Derluyn
Period: Marz 2019 - Marz 2022

Centre for Innovation in the Early Years (VBJK)

VBJK | Vernieuwing in de Basisvoorzieningen voor Jonge KinderenVBJK is a research center in the Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy. It works on policy oriented studies and pedagogical innovation in early childhood care and education and parent support. VBJK is a partner of the governmental agency Child and Family and collaborates with the Commission of the Flemish Community and the governmental department of education. It was involved in international research projects with the European Commission DG Education and Culture, Eurofound, OECD and UNESCO. It has a long lasting collaboration with leading foundations in the field, including the Bernard Van Leer Foundation and the King Boudouin Foundation. The vision and mission of VBJK are inspired bu the International Convention on Children’s Rights and is based on the belief in parents’ and professionals’ agency.

Promoter(s): Prof. Michel Vandenbroeck and Dr. Jan Peeters
Researcher(s)/contact: Katrien Van Laere, Hester Hulpia, Caroline Boudry

Policy Research Network on Poverty (VLAS)

VLAS | Vlaams ArmoedesteunpuntThe study aims at identifying and analysing the conditions for social work practices to be experienced as supportive by parents, children and social workers in contexts of poverty. Based on a retrospective study of life stories in nine families, the study examines how social work functions as an actor in constructing levers that enable parents and children to make beneficial use of public services, which – in turn – may lead to pathways out of poverty.
The project is part of the Policy Research network on Poverty.

Promoter(s): Prof. Michel Vandenbroeck en Dr. Griet Roets
Researcher(s)/contact: Tineke Schiettecat, Michel Vandenbroeck, Griet Roets

7th Framework project

7KP | Zevende Kaderprogramma

The European 7th Framework project "Social Innovation: Empowering the Young (Society) for the Common Good" starts from the theoretical framework of the Capabilities Approach, whereby the knowledge base on which policy and practice towards "disadvantaged" youngsters, is explored both on a national and regional level. It is focusing on the extent to which the perspective of young people themselves resonates in this knowledge base.

The local case study was developed in the context of the system of part-time vocational education and workplace learning in Ghent, which is perceived as the residue of the educational cascade mechanism and pertinently reveals problems of social exclusion and exit of disadvantaged youngsters.

In our participatory biographical research in the system of part-time vocational education and workplace learning, we explored the educational careers, the experiences and the aspirations of disadvantaged youngsters from a multi-actor perspective. We mapped seven “successful” and seven “difficult” trajectories, in which we focused on how resources and pedagogical practices of educational and social welfare can possibly contribute to the realization of the “capability for education” which refers to what youngsters in the system of PVEWL may have reason to value in education.

Promoter(s): Rudi Roose
Researcher(s)/contact: Caroline Vandekinderen