New Report Out Calls on Government to do More
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Promoting the Emotional Wellbeing of Children in Foster Care
Promoting children in care’s emotional wellbeing and recovery from trauma through a child-centred outcomes framework
We have recently been focusing on raising awareness about trauma and anxiety in children in foster care; both are significant factors resulting in young people who develop and grow into adults who suffer a lifetime of mental health problems and never reach their full potential in life.
Yet, relatively speaking, very little is done by government to measure and understand this properly.
We are pleased to share this latest paper from the Alliance, developed in conjunction with a roundtable of experts.
Promoting the Emotional Wellbeing of Children in Care examines options for assessing and measuring looked after children’s wellbeing and mental health outcomes throughout their care experience. Crucially, it sets out proposals for Government on developing new measures and ways of using existing data more effectively, to drive improvements across the sector.
Alliance for children in care and care leavers, conclude in their report:
Care should be viewed as a process by which a child’s recovery from previous adverse experiences and achievement of positive emotional wellbeing is to be realised. It should effect changes for children over time, and any change needs to be measurable so that it is possible to say whether the care a child is receiving is effective, and high quality.
A failure to achieve these outcomes will have an impact on other life chances, such as education and future employment.
For children and young people in care, the quality of relationships and stability is of paramount importance.
We often hear about the importance of educational outcomes and ‘promoting achievement’, but in view of the reasons why children come into care, such as abuse and neglect, the frequent comparison of looked after children with the wider population is unhelpful.
As we have seen, when looked after children are compared with more similar cohorts of children, their outcomes can be encouraging.
As wellbeing underpins stability of relationships and placements, and is found to predict future health and productivity, there is a strong case for prioritising the measurement of wellbeing and mental health for looked after children within a new outcomes framework.
Wellbeing should underpin and inform an understanding of what good care is and needs to be, so that it is
consistently and transparently high quality.
Systematic measurement of both wellbeing and mental health would help to ensure that care helps children and young people to flourish and move on from traumatic experiences through promoting their emotional wellbeing, as well as recover and repair any damage from adverse experiences, through addressing mental health problems.
Given the importance of these goals, the need for robust measurement of wellbeing and mental health outcomes must be urgently addressed.
These proposals, developed with experts and Alliance members, form part the Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leaver’s New Vision - a programme of work calling for a shift in the way the care system is viewed and delivered.
More should be done, yes. In the meantime we continue to support the children in our care by offering therapeutic fostering solutions to help the children who come into our care from the local authority.
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