Comment: Launch of Children Commissioner for England's Stability Index

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Following the publication of the Children Commissioner for England’s Stability Index, Melissa Green, director of operations at The Fostering Network, said: ’We welcome this report as it sheds further light on one of the major issues affecting children in care today. It is disruptive enough for a child when the difficult decision is made to take them into care, but if the system then causes further unnecessary disruption through changes in their home, school or social worker, then they are being let down by their corporate parents. It is surely not acceptable that 71 per cent of children in care in England experienced a change in their placement, school, or their social worker over a 12 month period.

'Stability is absolutely vital for children and young people in foster care - we know this to be true and it’s what we frequently hear from fostered children. There is a direct correlation between stable placements and improved outcomes, yet for many years we have been aware that stability is, all too often, being undermined unnecessarily. For example, The Fostering Network’s State of the Nation survey in 2016 found that half of foster carers – who often know the children in their care better than anyone – had experienced a placement ending when they felt it was not in the child’s best interests.

'We must do whatever we can to ensure that placements have every opportunity to succeed. That’s why the recruitment of foster carers with appropriate skill and experience is so important and why we invest in innovative programmes which seek to improve placement stability, such as The Fostering Network’s Mockingbird programme.

'This vital work by the Children’s Commissioner for England will enable us to develop a clearer picture of the current situation in regard to disruption, and we hope it will be the catalyst for a greater national focus on the challenges within the system and help ensure we can offer looked after children the stability and security they need.'