The latest foster care statistics show that there are nearly 90,000 children in care across England and Wales; with this number only set to rise.
Given the quantity of children in care, many studies have been conducted to assess the importance of stability for children and young people’s wellbeing and development. Many of the children within the care system have experienced neglect, abuse and adversity within their homes, which is why they have been taken into care.
Evidence suggests that a stable and safe environment that nurtures and provides a sense of belonging to a child helps them to form healthy, safe, and positive relationships with the people around them, along with helping them to grow and thrive. Not only this, but vulnerable children need a supportive school network made up of professionals to help children feel supported, valued and, most of all, able to reach their full potential.
The Stability Index
It is due to the research that has been conducted, and for the reasons listed above, that the Stability Index put together by the Children’s Commissioner matters.
The Stability Index highlights the necessity of a safe and stable home life, whereby children who are living in care are treated equally. Along with this, it outlines the skills that are necessary for a parent or caregiver to nurture a child and make them feel stable within a family unit.
There are links between stability and children flourishing in their home, school and social lives. If a child experiences instability, they may have difficulty making friends, achieving their full potential in school, or even trusting the adults around them. This unstable feeling a child may experience might make it harder for them to have any form of relationship with parents, caregivers, teachers or social workers – unfortunately, instability tends to leave a child feeling unsafe and unable to trust the adults around them.
The Stability Index states that children in care are highly likely to have experienced instability in one way or another – in fact, next to no children at all, who are within the care system, will have grown up experiencing a stable childhood. The reason for this is that children in care tend to live with a number of different foster families, sometimes resulting in them having to move schools, and often being passed around between social workers.
This sort of instability is also just examples that we know about – unfortunately, a lot of instability starts from birth, especially if a child has experienced neglect or abuse from a young age.
Unfortunately, these traumatic experiences aren’t always tracked in a child’s records, so they remain unknown, unless the child volunteers this information to someone they trust. This, sadly, is just one of the things foster parents and social workers have to deal with when arranging for a foster child to be fostered in the right home.
At Compass, we know how important stability is in a child’s life, which is why we put so much effort into finding the ideal foster parents for each child. We make sure to offer support to, not only the children within our care, but our foster parents too – we aim to give them all the training, support and tools to help build a happy, safe and stable home for the children they care for.
We offer extensive training to our foster parents and staff to help therapeutically care for young people who have not had the best start in life. Building an attachment is extremely important for adults with children in care, fostering a trusting relationship is vital to help young people flourish. You can read about our foster parent’s experiences with young people on our blogs page.
If you feel as though you could give a child or young person a stable home, or would like to learn more about foster care, you can get in touch with us on 0800 566 8317 or alternatively you can request a digital brochure today.