Children need stability to do well in life – new research shows


There are over 70,000 children currently in the care of local authorities in England. Many have experienced significant adversity in their home lives before arriving into care. A stable home environment that nurtures children provides the bedrock for them to form healthy, positive relationships that enable them to flourish.

On top of that, an effective, supportive school and consistent support from professionals can help these children feel supported, valued and ambitious.

It’s for these reasons that the Stability Index matters. It highlights the necessity of a stable home life for children living in care but equally, for any child; and consequently, how important  it is for parents or caregivers to have skills that will nurture security and trust within a family environment.

Stability can be the difference between children flourishing in their environment, or having the difficulties they have already had to endure further compounded. Instability makes it harder for a child to form positive trusting relationships with their parents, caregivers, teachers and social workers, and makes them feel less safe.

According to the Stability Index, most children in care experience some kind of instability in one form or another – only a minority experience no changes at all. Factors that contributed to the overall instability of a child in care are linked to changes in placement, school and social worker as well as other important drivers of stability not captured in our data, such as a child’s background of traumatic experiences, the quality of the relationship between a child and their caregivers, the quality and amount of professional support around a child, and how much contact a child has with friends and siblings.

It’s a lot for authorities to deal with, and when resources are stretched there will be children and families that fell through the net of care. At Kids Matter we offer support to caregivers (as well as parents) through our parenting programme, which aims to give mums, dads and caregivers the tools to build strong families. For more information, please contact us at – we’d love to hear from you.

All statistical (and other) information comes from the Children’s Commissioner Stability Index 2018, which can be read HERE.

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