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Breaking down the Barriers The challenges that children and young people bring with them into Care.

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Presentation on theme: "Breaking down the Barriers The challenges that children and young people bring with them into Care."— Presentation transcript:

1 Breaking down the Barriers The challenges that children and young people bring with them into Care

2 Research Study 99 children in foster care were compared with 100 school-children (living with family) who were matched for age and gender. We looked at the number and range of negative life events that the children in care experienced and compared them with the children in the community We called these events and situations risk factors. The maximum number was 25.

3 Ashwood Screening Questionnaire Significant Life events Background Factors Teenage parent, poor home conditions, multiple school placements, school exclusion, parent in care, CPP, mother no qualifications. Relationship Factors Early maternal rejection, abandonment, abuse and neglect, loss of contact with birth parent, death of either parent, change in fathers, emotional abuse, neglect, separation from siblings

4 Ashwood Screening Questionnaire Significant Life events – Lifestyle Factors Family crime, witness to violence, multiple carers, parents drug/alcohol use, mother in prison, parents mental health, changes of address

5 Research Findings Children in Care – average 9.5 risk factors present per child. Comparison Group – average 0.5 risk factors per child

6 Research Study Children at Most Risk – Prior Factors Having a child protection plan for any reason Family relationship problems ( family violence, multiple “parents”, chaotic home-life, parent in prison) Parents using substances, teenage parents, multiple home moves, death of parent(s)

7 Research Study Children at Most Risk – In Care Factors Multiple placements The highest number of placement moves occurred in the 5-11 years age group, The 3-4yrs age group moved less but multiple moves in all age groups were associated with poorer outcomes Siblings placed elsewhere The siblings might have remained with birth family or been placed separately in the care system

8 Research Study Weaker Links to Poor Outcomes Developmental Disorders Early Failure to Thrive Sensory Impairments Long-term Medication Physical Health Issues Exclusion from School But they were still linked

9 Research Study Academic Progress and Learning Outcomes Greater Risk Rating = more attachment and mental health and behavioural problems = poorer progress and attainment

10 Research Study Negative Life Events which were significantly associated with Attachment, mental heath and behavioural difficulties:- Placement instability Developmental disorders Maternal Rejection Multiple changes of accommodation

11 Case Study Billie is a girl with sensory impairment, one of two girls born to a mum with heroin addiction which caused her death. Both girls adopted by mother’s sister when they were 3 years old, but Billie, the older girl, was rejected by the aunt and her new partner while Zoey her sister remained with them. Billie needed very special care...

12 Case Study At the age of 3 years Louisa witnessed her mother punching step-sister Bella who was on the table at breakfast time. Bella fell from the table and died and mother was imprisoned for manslaughter. Louisa and her older sister India were fostered separately. At age five years Louisa was a very challenging and distressed child, ripping at her skin, screaming and sobbing at the least upset, unable to sleep...

13 Toxic Stress Lack of stimulation and opportunity to develop a healthy attachment to a primary caregiver Over a prolonged period of time, stress responses become excessive and toxic to the body, which can have life long consequences. Toxic stress turns off any functions that slow down reactions - functions that can be essential to protecting ourselves when faced with a threat.

14 Toxic Stress These lost functions include the ability to: self-regulate process information make sense of the world interact positively with other people And often children struggle with every aspect of daily life

15 Self-regulation Children & Young People who struggle with self-regulation are likely to be perceived as presenting challenging behaviour. They may be hyper-aroused and acting out, or dissociated and switched off. Processing disorders add to the child's difficulties, leading them to misinterpret neutral events as frightening, They lack the ability to account for their own feelings and behaviour.

16 Impact on learning The child or YP may not : have the capacity to experience curiosity and joy be engaged or enthused by learning have the excitement about mastering skills or understanding have the ability to use reasoned thought or language to understand and explain behaviour

17 Impact on learning The child or YP may not : Be able to take risks necessary to learn Be able to overcome their feelings of shame and loss of self-esteem Cope with any form of criticism or praise Relate appropriately to peers Relinquish their role of protector to younger siblings

18 Case Study 1 Michael describes what happened ‘I saw my Dad at the weekend – I only see him about every month, usually at his place or sometimes we go out. I like to see him because he is my Dad. When I went to his flat on Saturday we watched a new video and had a takeaway but then he told me that my Mum has a new boyfriend and she’s going to have a baby. I couldn’t really understand because I haven’t seen my Mum for about two years and then she was still doing drugs. I wanted to cry but I couldn’t. All week, I kept getting into trouble at school, I just wanted to smash something – how come she can have another baby but not want me?’

19 Case Study 2 Sammie explains what often happens ‘I don’t like lunch times because we all have to go in the playground and there are too many people rushing round and the little ones are making noise. Then, each class has to line up when we are told to go to the hall for lunch. At lunch you have to choose what you want and I don’t always like it and sometimes I can’t sit with my friends. I am always getting told off for not eating my dinner because I’m talking. Sometimes I feel hungry in the afternoons and I get grumpy. I like mornings best at school, really.'

20 Case Study 3 ‘ I don’t see the point of all this work at school. Even when I do what they want, they are still going on at me, I could have done this or written a bit more. What’s the point of me doing it if it’s still not good enough? Some teachers are ok but some just needle me all the time – like they don’t think much of me – they say stuff like, “No homework again, Marcus? It’ll hardly be worth you sitting the GCSE, will it?“. If I’m having a bad day, I just explode when they say something like that and get chucked out of the classroom, but at least I don’t have to listen to them getting at me.’

21 Acknowledgments Thank you Ashwood Associates and National Children’s Bureau for ‘Understanding Why’ Workbook

22 Acknowledgement Thank you for this very important message Michael, Sammie, Marcus…………………. 'I do appreciate you being there for me and trying to understand me even on the days when things are difficult’


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