Stability Index 2019

Today, the Children’s Commissioner for England published the 2019 Stability Index which contains important data and findings about the experience of stability for children and young people in the care system.

Today, the Children’s Commissioner for England published the 2019 Stability Index which contains important data and findings about the experience of stability for children and young people in the care system. It focuses on three of the most common changes which can cause instability; changing home, changing school and changes of social worker.

The report highlights that 1 in 10 children are ‘pinballed’ around the care system by experiencing four or more changes of home over a three-year period.

In addition, 45,000 children and young people experienced at least one social worker change during 2017/18. Around 1 in 20 children experience a home change, a school change and a change of social worker within a one-year period. These changes are often sudden and can lack prior warning or explanation for children and can have a dramatic impact on young people’s mental health, educational attainment and wellbeing.

Speaking about the impact of repeated changes in her social worker, one young person said:

“I didn’t meet my new social worker for quite a while, and then I met her a couple of times, and then I got another one. And it’s just like, well I only saw you three times and you’re already leaving, am I that bad? And it just makes you feel like you’re worthless, you’re not valued, and you’ve done something wrong all the time. It also makes you feel like you’re not important to them, and they don’t want to be with you, they don’t want to work with you, they’re just doing it because they have to. So it just makes a real downer on the young person, it makes them feel like, have very low self-esteem and low confidence in themselves.” (Female, 17)

We recognise the detrimental impact of these changes on young people and join with the Commissioner in calling for urgent action to be taken.

Furthermore, the report highlights the changing demographics of children and young people in care, with nearly 1 in 4 (23%) now aged 16 or over. We recognise that there are specific challenges to ensuring that this older cohort, who often present with more complex needs, find the stability that they need.

Over the next year Home for Good will be developing and launching a campaign that aims to ensure that these older young people receive the highest quality care that enables them to be in a home where they can flourish and thrive.

Home for Good is committed to working with Government, agencies, authorities and other organisations to find a great home for every child who needs one. We long to see children and young people be enabled to develop meaningful, trusting relationships, access the therapeutic support they need and achieve their goals. In order to achieve this, stability is central.

We welcome today’s report with a heavy heart as it outlines that many children and young people are not accessing the stability that they need. We join with the Commissioner in recognising that whilst the National Stability Forum was a welcome introduction within the Department for Education last year, action has not been taken quickly enough and much more attention is needed to prioritise stability for these children.

You can read the main report here, which is accompanied by an additional report outlining children’s direct experiences of some of the central findings.

For further information about Home for Good’s policy and advocacy work, please contact advocacy@homeforgood.org.uk

Author:
Natalie Mills, Policy and Research Officer


Date published:
1 Aug 2019


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