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Patterns of instability: moves within the care system, their reasons, contexts and consequences

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journal contribution
posted on 17.09.2014, 10:38 authored by Harriet Ward
The unstable nature of placements impacts on children's education, health and emotional development and contributes to the poor outcomes of care. The present study examined the moves of 242 long-stay children for a minimum of 3.5 years after they entered the care of six English local authorities; it used quantitative data extracted from case files and qualitative data from interviews with children and young people. During the study period 965 placements were made and 843 ended. The median length of placements was four months in foster family care and 3.5 months in residential care, and did not substantially increase until the third year of the care episode. While the numbers of placements differed according to children's ages and attributes, even very young children with no additional support needs experienced frequent moves. Instability in care replicated children's experiences within their birth families and reinforced perceptions of transience. While some placements broke down, the majority of moves were planned transitions embedded in the case management process. These may be a response to inadequate resources, but they also reflect how social workers and the courts struggled to acknowledge that some parents would not be able to provide adequate care within a child's timescale.

Funding

The study was funded by the Department of Health and the Department for Children, Schools and Families, England.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Published in

CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES REVIEW

Volume

31

Issue

10

Pages

1113 - 1118 (6)

Citation

WARD, H., 2009. Patterns of instability: moves within the care system, their reasons, contexts and consequences. Children and Youth Services Review, 31 (10), pp. 1113 - 1118.

Publisher

© Elsevier Ltd.

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2009

Notes

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Children and Youth Services Review. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Children and Youth Services Review, 31 (10), pp. 1113 - 1118. DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2009.07.009

ISSN

0190-7409

Language

en