The process of placement change

Lisa Holmes, Researcher, Loughborough University, United Kingdom 

Claire Baker, Researcher, Loughborough University, United Kingdom 

Helen Trivedi, Researcher, Loughborough University, United Kingdom    

This presentation will draw on a series of recently completed empirical studies focused on children in out of home care in the UK. A specific focus will be placed on the findings about children’s experience of foster care, their relationships within the fostering household and the process of placement change.   On the basis of the premise that not all placement changes are negative (Sinclair, 2007) and that placement stability needs to be understood within the context of the child’s experience of changing placements (Ward, 2009) we will present a typology that has been developed to explore the nuances associated with changes in placement experienced by children in foster care.  Drawing on national statistical data (for England and Scotland) about placement stability, an analysis of case files and qualitative interviews with children and their foster carers, we will explain the differentiation we have developed between the placement change event and the process of changing placements. Along with a further distinction between whether the event and/or the process are positive or negative. We will provide examples of how the use of the typology produced evidence to understand the placement change experience from the perspective of children and their foster carers. We will also discuss the short and longer term impact of the experience of the process of a change in placement with a focus on security, integration into foster care households and relationships.

Key-words: stability, placement change, security, relationships

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