THE SENYPIC Study: Sexual Health and Sexuality Education Needs Assessment of Young People in Care in Ireland

The SENYPIC study represents the most comprehensive programme of research in a European context to date on the sexual health needs of young people in state care.  It is comprised of five related studies. The SENYPIC reports were released in March 2016 and are available here.

Research team:
  • Prof Abbey Hyde, Associate Professor, UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems
  • Deirdre Fullerton, Psychologist, Insights Health and Social Research
  • Dr Maria Lohan, Senior Lecturer, Queens University Belfast
  • Caroline McKeown, Research Assistant, UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems
  • Dr Laura Dunne, Senior Research Fellow, School of Education, Queens University Belfast
  • Professor Geraldine Macdonald Professor of Social Work, Queens University Belfast

Additional team members (Service-provider study):

  • Ms Frances Howlin
  • Dr Maria Healy, UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems)
Study No 1: A Survey of Service-provider Perspectives: Sexual Health and Sexuality Education Needs of Young People in Care

An e-survey, comprising both fixed-choice and open-ended questions was employed to capture respondents’ perspectives on:

1. The relative importance of various sources of information on relationships and sex for young people in general and YPIC.

2. The RSE and sexual health needs of YPIC compared to young people in general.

3. The provision of RSE and sexual healthcare to YPIC. 

4. Challenges to and supports in delivering RSE and sexual health services to YPIC.

Study No 2: Approaches to Promoting Sexual Health among Young People in Care: A Descriptive Mapping of Services

The descriptive mapping exercise aimed to describe the approaches used and services delivered by professionals engaged in RSE and sexual healthcare to young people in care.

Study No 3: A Qualitative Analysis the Perspectives of Key Service-providers on the Sexual Health and Sexuality Education Needs of Young People in Care

Objectives (Study No 3)

  • To reliably describe the sexual health and sexuality education needs of young people in care from the perspective of key stakeholders and service–providers.
  • To identify the support needs of key staff with a central role in the provision of sexual health and sexuality education to young people in care.
Study No 4: Perspectives of Foster Carers and Birth Parents on the Sexual Health and Sexuality Education Needs of Young People in Care

Objectives (Study No 4)

  • To reliably describe the sexual health and sexuality education needs of young people in care from the perspective of foster carers and birth parents.
  • To describe the degree to which these needs are currently being met by foster carers and birth parents.
  • To analyse and describe protective and risk behaviours among YPIC from the perspectives of foster carers and birth parents.
  • To assess attitudes, knowledge and risk-perception levels among children in care in relation to ‘crisis’ pregnancy, STIs and awareness of services and supports from the perspective of foster carers and birth parents.
  • To compare and contrast findings from published qualitative Irish research and provide evidence of the degree to which issues generated relating to foster parents are similar and/or dissimilar to those issues raised by parents in general.
Study No 5: Care Leavers’ Perspectives on the Sexual Health and Sexuality Education Needs of Young People in Care

Objectives (Study No 5)

  • To reliably describe the sexual health and sexuality education needs of young people in care from the perspective of young care leavers.
  • To describe the degree to which care leavers believe that these needs are currently being met.
  • To analyse and describe protective and risk behaviours among YPIC from the perspectives of care leavers.
  • To assess attitudes, knowledge and risk-perception levels among children in care in relation to ‘crisis’ pregnancy, STIs and awareness of services and supports from the perspective of care leavers.
  • To compare and contrast findings from published qualitative Irish research and provide evidence of the degree to which sexual health issues associated with young people in care are similar and/or dissimilar to those issues raised by young people in general.