This chapter considers the impact of changing placements on children and young people in residential care. The data was gathered through interviews with 7 young people who were living in residential care and had experienced a variety of placements. The research came out of a request from the Care Network to look at the impact of placement moves, and a summary of the findings was fed back to care providers.
The young people interviewed spoke about changes in placement as far more than just physical movement. Themes of peer relationships and movement of other children into and out of the placement, as well as differing structures in the home environment and expectations placed upon them, greatly impact their experiences and sense of stability. The chapter also discusses the power of informing young people of change and listening to their opinions. This was seen in the language they used to describe placement moves; when young people lacked a sense of agency they spoke as if the move was being done to them, rather than with them. When they were consulted, even if they disagreed with the move it was generally perceived more positively. The chapter also touches upon how young people can force their own movement, often as a cry for help if they feel that they are not being listened to.
The hope is that readers of this chapter who are involved with caring for children and young people in placements will consider the environment that the child has come from, and both the positive and negative impact of any other children in the placement. It is also a reminder of the importance of keeping young people informed about any change, and to consider the real reasons that might be behind behaviours such as persistent absconding.
Children and Young People ‘Looked After’? Education, Intervention and the Everyday Culture of Care in Wales
This is the latest blog in a series relating to the recently released book "Children and Young People ‘Looked After’? Education, Intervention and the Everyday Culture of Care in Wales". Over the next few weeks we will be uploading blog posts from chapter authors in the lead up to the launch event for the book. Tickets to the launch are available here.
Read the other blogs in this series here:
Chapter 2 - Dr Martin Elliott
Chapter 3 - Gwyther Rees, Rachel Brown, Phil Smith and Rhiannon Evans
Chapter 6 - Gemma Allnatt
Chapter 7 - Dr Alyson Rees
Chapter 13 - Dr Dawn Mannay