Driving Change in Child Care: 4 Critical Impact Points

4 areas to drive change

At Bluestones Medical Complex Care, our core mission focuses on setting up the young people entrusted to us for success in their transition to adulthood, with person-centered care plans for a positive journey and progressive pathway.

Our approach centers on progressing the young person through stages of development in areas we’ve identified as essential for enabling our young people’s healthy development into thriving adulthood. From building life skills to nurturing emotional growth to stabilising mental health and more, we take a holistic view toward advancement. Through this process, we empower children to have the most enriched, stable experience possible in our houses. Read on as we explore the 4 crucial points guiding our supportive care.

1. Placement stability

A critical yet occasionally overlooked metric in the UK childcare system is placement stability – as quantified through the stability index. This index measures the frequency of children having to switch between placements while under local authority care, giving insight into the consistency of support structures meant to provide safety and nurture healthy development. The government recommends no more than 3 placement moves before leaving care. 

Each time a child in care is moved between placements, the fragile foundations of safety and trust so critical to their growth are fractured. All advancement unravels as the process resets them to square one over and over. Unable to find secure attachment with revolving caregivers, they retreat inward, as does their sense of stability.

At Bluestones Medical Complex Care, we recognise stable placements as fundamental to empowering vulnerable young people. Therefore, our model revolves around tailored continuity of care, with an emphasis on assembled multidisciplinary teams that comprehensively assess each child’s unique needs from the start. Background profiling provides insights into trauma triggers and tendencies, informing carefully constructed care regimens. By understanding the factors that destabilised people in the past, we can mitigate risks moving forward. With evidence-based measures woven into their surroundings, we help children build progressively from a base of trust instead of routinely tearing down all progress. Consistent support structures set them up to shift focus from disrupted attachment cycles to goal-oriented personal growth.

In 2023, what percentage of children in care had more than 1 placement?

In 2023, 31% of children in care had more than one placement with 9% having 3 or more placements.  With around 84,000 children in care, approximately 26,000 children moved placements in 2023.

2. School Stability Index

The school stability index tracks placement continuity within the educational environments of children in care or other out-of-home arrangements. It measures the volume of school moves or transitions these students make annually while under local authority supervision across ages 5-16.

This index matters because research increasingly highlights school instability as a key hindrance to vulnerable youths’ learning, wellbeing and life trajectories. With a high amount of children shuffling through schools face structural barriers to forming trusted relationships and progressing curriculum. Critical periods of development get compromised by instability that other students rarely encounter.

From an emotional view point, each move strains an already fragile sense of belonging. Without the consistency of education and social learning, many consequently exit the system lacking tangible preparation for independence and risk the possibility of unemployment. At Bluestones Medical Complex Care, we counteract this by making educational continuity an organisational priority. Our Education Plan provides individualised stability through allocating tutors and alternative learning environments, if a child cannot attend a school, tailored to promote engagement and self-confidence. Children receive consistent academic guidance, resources and enrichment to nurture developmental progress. By investing in services like tutorial support and our intuitive online platform with personalised learning pathways, youth in our care gain skills needed to achieve curriculum and life skill milestones that will help gain qualifications and to identify career areas.

What percentage of care leavers continued with education or found a source of employment?

54% of care leavers annually carry on into some form of education or find jobs.  This leaving 46% of 18 year olds not having the qualifications, guidance and knowledge of what to do after the leave care.

3. Returning to care

When young people age out of the UK care system, they are thrust into independent living with budgets averaging £62 a week, which they have to use for basics like food and housing bills.

This abrupt contrast from state dependency to living hand-to-mouth can understandably overwhelm. Lacking basic financial literacy and life skills, over a third end up back in care or imprisoned within two years. Better preparing care leavers both developmentally and economically can make that jarring transition safer.

At Bluestones Medical Complex Care, we integrate financial and career planning so children under our wing gain proficiency in budgeting, bill payment, career development, and other necessities, helping the shift feel surmountable versus shocking. Our workshops and resources exploring professional passions, building CVs, developing interview tactics, and mapping education pathways critical for higher qualifications needed and what avenues to take. With voices heard and priorities understood early on, young people gain framework for gathering lifelong abilities. Our measured approach sets realistic expectations while lining up resources to meet them. The end result are care leavers embracing their next chapter with structure and life-tools to steer by – rather than capsizing.

In Wales, what is the average percentage of homeless people to have been in care?

20% of homeless people in Wales have been in care, showing that they have been failed in some capacity to find a path and cope with real world pressures.

What percentage of adult prisoners are care experienced in the UK?

20% of UK prisoners are care experienced.  Without the proper support people resort to desperate needs because they have not other place to go.  It is our job to show the avenues they have available with guidance, knowledge and support creating a plan.

4. Upskilling and wellbeing

Effective execution of care plans and the points we have raised that uplift young people relies entirely on the guidance of well-equipped, looked after, empathetic teams. Bridging this gap demands recognising care work as specialised labour warranting competitive development pathways.

At Bluestones Medical Complex Care, we facilitate workforce uplift through role-specific training, platform access, and qualification/progression incentivisation. Our multidisciplinary framework unites house staff, wellbeing coordinators, and quality and improvement professionals. Ensuring each feels valued through individual development plans that nurture strengths, keeps morale high while sharpening collective skill sets.

Whether gaining deeper trauma response techniques, teaching resources, or communication tactics, every staff member receives continuous training opportunities. We similarly provide online support for PSHE learning along with routine wellbeing initiatives. When caregivers feel supported, their ability to support youth excels in kind. Our commitment to advancement opportunities uplifts staff ability to execute care plans to the best of their ability, tailored to each child’s ever-evolving needs.

What percentage of workers in the child care sector would want to pursue a career with upskill opportunities to progress?

Researched has shown that 82% of healthcare and social care workers would want to have the chance to upskill and keep pursuing a progressive career in this industry.  A statistic like this encourages us as a company to not only look outwards but inwards at the talent we already have.

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