Dr Richard Barker is completely correct. The expression “pinball kids“, regarding the constant changes the looked after children face constantly, is horrible. Another expression could have been used by Anne Longfield (Children’s Commissioner for England), but, and unfortunately, more correct than Barker, is how well this expression explains what is happening, year after year with the kids in care in the UK.
What this Children’s Commissioner’s Stability Index 2018 [download the overview doc] [download the Technical Report] shows us is that 74% of the children in care had a change in the placement, the social worker or school during 2016/2017. The graphic below gives us a clear view of these changes, showing that 56% had changes in their social worker, 24% moved to a different school and also 24% moved to a different placement. From all of this 6% faced changes in all these aspects, moving to a different placement, school and having a new social worker.
Again… yes, it is a horrible expression, but more than focusing on the correctness or the dreadfulness of the expression “pinball kids“, shouldn’t we be focusing on what can we do (as professionals, social workers and, maybe most of all, citizens) to reduce these constant changes in placement, school, and social worker, and the consequences that this can have on the wellbeing and on the impact on the possibility for these children to “fulfill their potential, whoever they are“?
I will be back to this shortly…