‘Children’s Voices: Children’s experiences of instability in the care system’ is published alongside the Children’s Commissioner’s third annual Stability Index, which measures stability in the care system by looking at how often children in care move home, school or social worker over a year.
In addition to this data analysis, the Children’s Commissioner’s Office also carried out interviews with 22 children in England who are in care or care leavers. The interviewees were aged between 9 and 21. These interviews explored two themes – the impact that instability had on these children, in their own words, and their perspectives on the factors that make instability harder or easier to deal with.
The children we spoke with shared a common need for stability in their lives. These are resilient but vulnerable children often living away from their families or without family at all. Frequently moving home, school and changing social worker is an unsettling and at times upsetting experience. All of these children wanted to live in a home where they felt loved and secure, to go to a good school where their needs and experiences were understood and catered for, and to build long-lasting and stable relationships with social workers. As our analysis in the Stability Index shows, it is still too often the case that many children growing up in care do not receive the stability and certainty they deserve.