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Childhood Transitions: Case Study

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Assessment Case Study – HMFA6030

Jane and Ali have been foster carers for the last 14 years. They currently have three children staying with them, Chelsea, Luke and Jayah.

Chelsea, who has just turned 16, has been with them for the last 8 years. She entered care at the age of 6 because her mother had severe mental health problems and was unable to care for her. She still has contact with her mother, but the visits are more and more infrequent and their relationship is quite distant. When she was first taken into care she was placed with temporary foster carers until a more permanent place could be found for her. She found it very difficult to settle and was thought to have an anxiety issue. She was then placed with her first set of long term carers. Unfortunately, after 18 months they were unable to continue looking after her due to ill health. She was then placed with Jane and Ali. She has been happy with them and they have built strong relationships with her, but now she is thinking it may be best for her to leave them. She is three months pregnant, but has no involvement with the child’s father. She is in Year 11 at a local school and is predicted to achieve over 5 GCSEs and could progress into the sixth form. Her baby is due in the August after her GCSEs have finished.

Jane and Ali would have kept her with them but she is expressing a preference to go into a home for young mothers, or to try and live independently.  She feels that as a mother she should be independent and not live with her family, but make her own way in life. Her social worker has determined that her interests will be best served by her being in a place where she can be supported.

Luke is eleven years old. He has been with Jane and Ali for two years. He entered care when he was 5, and after a brief stint with a temporary carer he was placed with Jane and Ali. He was taken into care because his mother died of breast cancer and there was no-one in his family who could take him in. Luke attends a local mainstream primary school. He sometimes has difficulties with controlling his emotions and seems to find it difficult to understand the consequences of his behaviour.  When he first moved in with Jane and Ali he was very angry and frequently aggressive towards the other children in their care. However, over time he settled and he now seems happy and more relaxed. He has made some friends at school and is particularly close to one other boy and has enjoyed play dates with him and his family.  He has been free for adoption for the last year, and the local authority has finally found a family to take him in. He has had visits from them over the last month and will be moving in with them in two weeks’ time. Luke likes his adoptive parents and is excited to be moving in with them and starting a new life, though they live in another part of town and he will be attending a different secondary school from most other children in his class at the moment (though it has been agreed he can stay at his current school until then, though his transport arrangements will obviously change).

Four year old Jayah was placed with Jane and Ali six months ago. Her parents divorced when she was one; her father had been caring for her since then but placed her in care when he felt he could no longer cope or meet her needs. Jayah has Down’s syndrome and, since being with Jane and Ali, has been diagnosed with conductive hearing loss as a result of glue ear.  This is thought to have contributed to her delayed language development. At the moment her hearing is being monitored to see if the condition resolves itself before considering surgery to insert grommets.  Jayah seems happy with Jane and Ali but she becomes distressed in unfamiliar situations with people she does not know. The aim is for Jayah to start school in September; she will be attending a local primary school and will be assigned a teaching assistant for one to one support. She has made some friends at nursery and gets on well with a girl who she sees at weekends when she goes to horse riding lessons at a centre which provides activities for children with special needs and disabilities.

Read the case studies provided to you and consider the following:

  1. Identify the transitions facing EACH child/ young person and critically examine the risks associated with TWO selected areas of transition. (1 & 2) [750 words].


  1. Identify the areas of change management and transition planning which a multi-agency team would need to be aware of in working with ONE of the children/young people in the case studies. (2) [750 words].


  1. Offer a critical analysis of ways in which you think a multi-agency team could most effectively support ONE or TWO children/young people from the case studies during their period of transition. Ensure you support your critical analysis with reference to theory and research surrounding transitions in childhood. (3 & 4) [2000 words].


Indicative Core Bibliography        Broderick, K. Mason Williams, T. Ed (2008) Transition Tool Kit: a framework for managing change and successful transition planning for children and young people with autistic spectrum conditions. Kidderminster, BILD publications

DfES (2003) Every Child Matters: Change for Children in the Criminal Justice System. London. Stationary Office

DfES (2003) Every Child Matters: Change for Children in Social Care. London. Stationary Office

Dunlop, A-W & Fabian,H. (2007) Informing Transitions in the Early Years: research, policy and practice London: OUP

Great Britain Children and Families Act 2014: Elizabeth 11. Chapter 6 London:  The Stationery Office

Henderson, S. (2007) Inventing Adulthoods, a biographical approach to youth transition. London: SAGE

Hess, J. & Gutierrez, A.M. (2010) Family Information Guide to Assistive Technology and Transition Planning: Planned Transitions are Smooth Transitions, Academy for Educational Development

Jones,C. and Lawson,K. (2007) 14-19 Transition: An Aid to Working Practices.  London: Learning and Skills Network

Warin,J. (2010) Stories of Self: Tracking Children’s Identity and Wellbeing Through the School Years.  Staffordshire: Trentham Books Ltd


  1. Critically examine the risks associated with transitions encountered within the family context
  2. Identify and critically analyse the potential transitions periods in children and young people’s lives
  3. Critically analyse the need for change management and transition planning within identified transitions
  4. Critically discuss the theory and research surrounding transitions in childhood and the application of this to multi agency practice

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