Babies and Young Children in Care

Life Pathways, Decision-making and Practice

by Chris Dearden, Harriet Ward, Emily Munro

Series: Child Welfare Outcomes

Babies and very young children in care often experience several changes of placement and carer, which can have a negative impact upon their long-term ability to develop secure attachments.

Babies and Young Children in Care examines why babies enter care or accommodation and why securing their long-term future can be a lengthy process. It analyses the circumstances, characteristics and experiences of these young children before, during and after being looked after, including reasons for changes of carer and placement disruptions. It looks at how young children are affected by the lack of stability in their lives, and explores the consequences of reunification with their parents after long periods in care. Drawing on interviews with birth parents, carers and social care professionals, the authors trace the complex decision-making process that influences these children's early experiences and the impact this has on their later development and well-being. They offer a clear explanation of the outcomes of services for very young children and signpost messages for practice.

This book is a key text for researchers, practitioners, policy makers and social care managers.


  • Jessica Kingsley Publishers; February 2006
  • ISBN: 9781846424786
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Babies and Young Children in Care
  • Series: Child Welfare Outcomes
  • Author: Chris Dearden; Harriet Ward; Emily Munro
  • Imprint: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

In The Press

It was with a painful sense of déjà vu that I read this account of the lives of 42 babies placed in local authority care. Painful, because it has too many uncomfortable echoes of Rowe's and Lambert's study, Children Who Wait, which back in 1973 exposed the scandal of far too many children being "warehoused" without plans. Those earlier children mostly stayed in one place in a climate of very little activity, whereas the babies in this study have all too often experience multiple moves and been subject to frequent court hearings - all the unintended consequences of the Children Act 1989, which was intended to avoid delay yet has seen it increase each year since its passing. This highly readable study draws on research to illuminate particular cases, the accounts of which flesh out in a very practical way the theoretical underpinnings.


About The Author

Harriet Ward is Director of the Centre for Child and Family Research (CCFR) and Professor of Child and Family Research at Loughborough University. She has undertaken extensive research in the field of assessing need and evaluating outcomes in children's services. She is co-editor of Approaches to Needs Assessment in Children's Services and Safeguarding and Promoting the Well-being of Children, Families and Communities, also published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, and is series editor of the Child Welfare Outcomes series. Emily R. Munro is a researcher at the CCFR and currently engaged in research on outcomes for very young children in need or at risk of significant harm. Her other research interests include transitions to adulthood, comparative social policy and youth justice. Chris Dearden is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University. She has undertaken extensive research on young carers, and is currently engaged in research on children's perspectives on poverty.