The field of psychology is incredibly broad, covering many aspects of human behavior and development. For my research project I have chosen Child Abuse I have conducted some research on this topic and have chosen 3 sources and need help on my Bibliography. Below I have uploaded the articles that I feel suit well with Child Abuse. Please read thoroughly! And do the best that you can and please no Plagiarism!! 100% Real!Create an annotated bibliography. Your annotated bibliography must include 3 different sources. These sources can include journals, periodicals, books, credible Internet articles (e.g. .org, .gov, or .net), etc.First source I have chosen was this book:Child Abuse : Indicators, Psychological Impact and Prevention. Please let me know ASAP if you are able to access this through a library of your choice. I tried downloading it but it is not working on my end?Second Source Credible Internet article: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/06/02/study-1-in-8-american-children-will-experience-maltreatment-by-age-18. In this source be sure to read the links that are in blue in this article.Third source is the Child Abuse (2) which is the uploaded journal below.For each of the 3 sources that you research, you will need to cite the bibliographic information in APA format followed by a summary, assessment, and a reflection. I have uploaded a version of how the annotated bibliography should look like below.British Journal of Social Work (2014) 44, 401–417
Advance Access publication August 16, 2012
Understanding and Supporting Young
Children’s Transitions into State Care:
Schlossberg’s Transition Framework and
Karen Winter is a lecturer in social work at Queen’s University Belfast.
*Correspondence to Dr Karen Winter, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work,
Queens University Belfast, University Road, Belfast, BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland.
There is a growing body of research regarding children and young people in state care
that is organised around the concept of transition. Focusing mainly on young people
leaving care, the research highlights their experiences of multiple transitions that can
contribute to poor long-term outcomes in terms of emotional and psychological wellbeing, educational attainment and employment prospects. The smaller body of research
that focuses on young children shows that their journeys before and when in state care
are also marked by multiple and fragmented transitions. Despite the growing knowledge base, there are two areas that remain under-developed—research that draws attention to the lived experiences of young children regarding their transitions into
state care; and the development of conceptual frameworks that centralise young children’s perspectives to support the development of practice. This article begins to
address these gaps by applying Schlossberg’s transition framework to a case study of a
young child regarding their transition into state care. The article highlights, through
the child’s perspectives, the multiple impacts of the transition and considers the implications for the development of better child-centred practice.
Keywords: Young children in care, transitions
Accepted: July 2012
# The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of
The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.
402 Karen Winter
Gaskell (2010), researching young people leaving care, has recently argued
It is children’s experiences of care, both before entering the care system and
whilst growing up within [it] that shapes their well-being and their life outcomes. The basis of improving children’s outcomes should include listening
to and understanding what children need from the care system (Gaskell,
2010, p. 136).
This article seeks to build on this view by arguing that, alongside research
that focuses on children’s perspectives about their lives ‘before care’ and
‘in care’, there should be a complimentary focus concerning the journey
or transition ‘into state care’. This focus on ‘the child’s perspective’ and
‘the journey’ are two of the key themes underpinning the recommendations
for the development of more child-centred social work practice outlined in
the recent UK Munro Review of Child Protection (Munro, 2010, 2011a,
2011b). Child-centred social work practice is a socially constructed
concept that is understood in different ways (Rasmusson et al., 2010).
Here, and reflective of the Munro Review, it is taken to mean social
work practice that captures the child’s perspectives; centralises these perspectives in social work processes and services; and capitalises upon them
to inform the future development of practice.
The development of more child-centred practice demands a fresh look at
all aspects of practice, especially regarding the transition of young children
into care where there remains a lack of research that focuses on their
detailed perspectives and where there is a lack of conceptual frameworks
to inform the development of child-centred practice (Unrau et al., 2008;
Rostill-Brookes et al., 2011). The application of Schlossberg’s framework
to the case study of a seven-year-old (drawn from a larger research
project) captures the complexities of the child’s perspectives, highlighting
the multiple impacts of the transition and how their experiences can
easily go unnoticed and unresolved. In light of this, the article explores
how practice in this area could become more child-centred to better
support young children during this major life event.
The concept of transitions is often linked to the normative age-related developmental changes associated with the life course (Petch, 2009). At one
level, research regarding those in state care reflects this, being particularly
focused on care leavers because of their life stage, concerns about the lack
of preparation and support offered to them while in state care (Reimer,
2010) and evidence that shows their vulnerability given their lack of
Understanding and Supporting Young Children’s Transitions 403
educational qualifications, lack of access to informal support mechanisms
and/or to financial help (Stein and Munro, 2008). Research also indicates
that some care leavers feel that the limited control they have had over
the multiple transitions during their lives has left them with residual feelings
of isolation and ill-preparedness for the challenges of adult life (Höjer and
Other recent research regarding very young children transitioning into
state care highlights their exposure to multiple placements (Ward, 2009).
While occurring for a multiplicity of reasons, the overriding concern
remains the impact of these transitions on the long-term outcomes for
this group of children (Ward, 2009; Chambers et al., 2010). In response to
a deepening understanding of transitional processes and their impacts,
there have been changes to legislative structures, policies and procedures.
For example, in the UK, young people transitioning out of care have
been afforded increased access to financial, practical and emotional
support until they are at least twenty-one years old (Stein and Munro,
2008). For those younger children and young people still in care, the use
of targets, to reduce the number of placement, educational and social
worker changes, has been introduced with varying levels of success
(Ward, 2009; Stein, 2009).
In relation to the perspectives of children regarding transitions into state
care, a small body of research has emerged involving children usually aged
eight years and over (Rostill-Brookes et al., 2011; Selwyn et al., 2010; Mitchell and Kuczynski, 2010; Mitchell et al., 2010). Selwyn et al. (2010), researching children transitioning into independent foster-care, found that most felt
happy with their new foster home and the support they were receiving.
However, a minority of children, who had experienced a transition into
another placement during the course of the research, expressed feelings
of lack of choice, control and of ‘not belonging’. Mitchell et al. (2010),
who invited twenty foster children aged eight to fifteen years old to draw
up an advice list for practitioners in their work with other children transitioning into care, found that the children highlighted the need for time, information, support and space to develop meaningful relationships with their
foster-carers to address their feelings of nervousness and anxiety accompanying their transition into foster-care. Similar findings have emerged
from a survey of six-to-sixteen-year-old children in state care (Ofsted,
2010), from the retrospective accounts of adults about their childhood
experiences of transitioning into foster-care (Unrau et al., 2008; Reimer,
2010) and in-depth qualitative research seeking the views of carers, social
workers and young people about breakdowns in foster placements (RostillBrookes et al., 2011).
With the exception of the Ofsted (2010) report, referred to above, it is
notable that, to date, research regarding the perspectives of young children
(aged eight years and under) about the transition into state care is sparse
(Unrau et al., 2008). The emphasis on a child’s perspective, within a child
404 Karen Winter
rights framework (United Nations, 1989), is synonymous with promoting
their participation rights that the state has an obligation to secure alongside
their provision and protection rights. In the UK, Munro, in her Review of
Child Protection, has argued that:
. . . everyone involved in child protection should pursue child-centred
working and recognise children and young people as individuals with
rights, including their right to participation in decisions about them in line
with their age and maturity [because] children and young people are a
key source of information about their lives and the impact any problems
are having on them in the specific culture and values of their family. It is
therefore puzzling that the evidence shows that children are not being adequately included in child protection work (Munro, 2011a, pp. 23 – 4).
In developing better practice regarding transitions into state care that
recognises and respects young children’s perspectives and that realises
the right supports for them, children’s own views (participation rights)
should be centre stage. In practical terms, as stated earlier, this has a
number of consequences for practitioners, including the requirement to
capture the child’s perspectives, centralise these in social work processes
and services, and capitalise on them in terms of using children’s insights
to inform the development of practice. This article seeks to illustrate
these three elements of a child-centred approach by using Schlossberg’s
transition framework to explore the perspectives of a seven-year-old
regarding their transition into state care and to consider the implications
of this for practice.
Schlossberg’s transition framework
Transition theories explain and explore the processes by which individuals
adjust to change in their lives. Concentrating on specific life events, and
psycho-social in focus, perhaps the best-known transition model is that of
Kübler-Ross (1969) that conceptualises individual adjustment to bereavement in five interrelated stages. In this tradition, Schlossberg’s transition
framework (Schlossberg et al., 1995; Goodman et al., 2006) is an applied
framework, used in individual direct work, that is concerned with experience and perception and that attempts to capture the impact of transition
through centralising the detailed perspectives of the individual. The focus
on the detailed perspectives of the individual is the reason that the framework forms the focus of this article.
Schlossberg defines a transition as ‘any event, or non-event that results in
changed relationships, routines, assumptions or roles’ (Schlossberg et al.,
1995, p. 27). The conceptual model comprises three main elements:
approaching transitions; taking stock of coping resources; and taking
charge (Schlossberg et al., 1995, p. 26). Table 1 outlines the details of
each element. The components of each element form the basis of the
Understanding and Supporting Young Children’s Transitions 405
Table 1 Schlossberg’s transition framework
Elements of the model
Taking stock of coping resources (potential
resources that a person possesses to cope
Taking charge (strengthening resources)
Questions to consider
What is the context of the transition (relationship of
the individual to the transition and the context in
which the transition is occurring)?
What type of transition is occurring (anticipated,
unanticipated or a non-event)?
What is the impact of the transition on the individual
(individual’s perception of the impact of the
transition on relationships, routines, assumptions
1. The situation variable—What is happening? (the
trigger, timing, control, role change, duration,
previous experiences of transition, concurrent
2. The self variable—To whom is it happening? Each
individual is different in terms of life issues and
personality (factors include socio-economic status,
age, life stage, gender, psychological resources,
3. The support variable—What help is available?
Supports and available options vary for each individual (these could include relationships, family,
friends, community/institutional networks)
4. The strategies variable—How does the person
cope? People navigate transitions in different
ways (Goodman et al., 2006, p. 55)
The four variables listed above can be regarded as
potential assets and/or liabilities in terms of the
likelihood of successful adaptation to the transition (Goodman et al., 2006, p. 55)
Adapted from Goodman et al., 2006, pp. 32 –55.
model that is designed to assess an individual’s relationship to a particular
transition and their ability to successfully navigate it.
Goodman et al. (2006, pp. 32– 55) also highlight that, to understand the
meaning a transition has for a particular individual, it is necessary to
examine the type of transition (anticipated, unanticipated or non-event),
the context of the transition (relationship of the person to the transition
and setting in which the transition occurs) and the impact of the transition
on the individual’s life (on relationships, routines, assumptions and roles).
The case study is one of several that were part of an original research
project undertaken between 2005 and 2008. The qualitative research,
which took place in the UK, underwent a rigorous approval process
through a university and later a Department of Health ethics committee
406 Karen Winter
and comprised ten case studies involving thirty-nine individual in-depth
interviews with young children in care aged four to seven years, their
parents and their social workers. The purpose of the research was to
explore the participatory opportunities and experiences of this group of
children and explored these themes in relation to their lives at home,
their transitions into state care and their experiences after coming into
The case studies only became part of the research project once consent
(constructed as opt-in and ongoing) had been secured from all involved.
Safeguards regarding the limits to confidentiality in the light of child protection concerns were built into the research process and appropriate adults
were also identified in networks to provide support to children if they
experienced distress as a result of the research interview process. All interviews took place in social care buildings familiar to all. The interviews with
the children were organised around themes relating to the research questions and involved children drawing, cutting, building, sticking and
playing (Winter, 2010a) while talking. All interviews were digitally
recorded, transcribed, anonymised using alphabetical categories—beginning with the ‘A’ family and ending with the ‘K’ family. Depending on
the case study, pseudonyms were chosen beginning with A, B, C and so
forth. Data were then stored and analysed using Maxqda2 software
(VERBI software, Marburg, Germany).
While related findings have been reported elsewhere (Winter, 2009,
2010b), this article focuses on one case study and the detailed perspectives
of a child from the ‘D’ family who was given the pseudonym Donal. Classified as both a unit of study and an approach, informed by varying theoretical frameworks and differing purposes there can be confusion about what
defines a case study and concerns about what their contribution to research
knowledge is. A definition is offered by Yin (2003, p. 13), who states that ‘A
case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between
phenomenon and context are not clearly evident’. Producing rich, detailed,
in-depth material, and given the emphasis on subjective experience/perspective, a concern associated with this type of research relates to issues
of generalisability, reliability and validity.
The purpose of this article is not to quantify experiences, but to: bring
into the public domain the hitherto hidden and deeply held perspectives
of this young child; make links (if these exist) with related research findings
that illustrate the capacity of young children to share their perspectives
about the experience of transition; and to stimulate debate regarding the
development of more child-centred practice in light of these insights. The
use of Schlossberg’s framework provides a means by which young children’s
perspectives can be comprehensively explored and the key issues identified.
It is within this context that this article concentrates on one case study involving Donal—chosen because his perspectives eloquently and poignantly
Understanding and Supporting Young Children’s Transitions 407
illustrate his experience of the transition into state care and underline the
need for a more child-centred approach.
The case study
Schlossberg’s transition framework begins with a consideration of the
context of the transition. In the case of Donal (aged seven years), he was
one of two siblings removed from home having suffered physical and emotional abuse and neglect. The abuse had occurred in a context in which a
combination of chronic and intractable parental problems including
mental health, domestic violence and abuse, alcohol misuse, parental separation and intimidation within the local community had adversely impacted
on the children’s well-being. Additional stressors included the fact that
Donal’s older brother had a learning disability and that the family had to
look after a maternal cousin. Research confirms that the constellation of
adverse issues impacting on this family is characteristic of other families
known to social services (Christiansen and Anderrson, 2010; Chambers
et al., 2010). Donal’s family had been known to social services for several
years, with his account providing some insights into the situation at home:
I: Aha. Do you understand why people think you shouldn’t be at home?
Donal: . . . I’ve been bad, I’ve been hitting, I’ve been cursing a lot of times,
I’ve been putting the doors through, I’ve just been acting like a hard boy
even though I’m 7 . . . you know.
I: So you think the reason that you’re not living at home is because of your
own bad behaviour?
Donal: . . . Right . . . do the right things, do not take a step wrong. Donal stop
the cigarettes . . . David stop with the petrol bombs, and Donal, enough of
I: So each one [of you should do] something to make things better? That’s
what you mean?
Donal: And then me stop banging in the ornaments.
I: You stop banging in the ornaments.
Donal: Hmm and the holes in the doors.
I: The holes in the doors?
Donal: No, I fell through the door.
I: Did you?
Donal: Aye, cause David pushed me.
Donal: . . . He pushed me through the glass and I went. I thought I was dead.
Despite some of the risks, Donal’s relationship with his family context
appears to be ambiguous because while, on one hand, it is a threat to his
408 Karen Winter
safety and well-being, it is, on the other hand, that same context that shapes
and defines his role as a protector/provider and that, in turn, gives him an
elevated adult status within his family context. Below, he talks of his role as
Donal: I’ve seen David smoke once.
I: Did you? And what did you do?
Donal: I just broke the fag in half . . . well, not at the top of it cause that’s
where the fire and all was, I just broke it in half [and said] ‘That there is
in the bin’, ‘Oh, I know that’ [he said]. Try and guess what I done next.
Donal: Up to my mummy’s room, knocked on the door and said, ‘Mummy,
this one’s smoking!’ and he admitted it.
I: And what did your mum do?
Donal: She attacked him! Cause I’d caught him . . . I’d caught him
Donal: . . . Hmm. I’ll protect any of my family.
His role in the family home is also elevated by his caring responsibilities, as
I: What kind of things did you do? . . . when you were living at home with
Donal: . . . You know like my mummy was out round at her friend’s house
and [ I was . . .] sitting, just sitting in the house looking after David, looking
after David and Dougie (cousin).
I: Hmm. Did you look after them?
Donal: . . . I didn’t really know how to cook right but my mummy taught me
the skill of it.
I: . . . Did you have to do anything else?
Donal: Em, just like bathing them. Well I would only wash their hair like.
I: So you’ve washed their hair as well?
Donal: . . . David would dress himself he would go into his room and dress
himself . . . I would collect the towels . . . . Like sit them down and give them
a snack like crisps, chocolate and a wee tin of coke or. They wouldn’t get a
whole load of coke cause it gets you hyper.
The role of children as carer/provider in households exposed to multiple
adversities is highlighted elsewhere where former foster children recall,
for example, having to care for themselves, their siblings and their
parents. These added responsibilities enabled the development of finely
tuned strategies and skills but sometimes with lasting damage (Reimer,
2010). Applied to Donal’s case, a new family placement could be perceived
by social workers as a refuge and a place where he has the opportunity to
receive care by adults instead of vice versa (Reimer, 2010). However,
Understanding and Supporting Young Children’s Transitions 409
from Donal’s perspective, the new family placement removes from him his
previous roles as protector and provider. As seen later, the loss of these
roles has particular impacts on him.
According to Schlossberg, another central aspect to understanding a
person’s adjustment to a transition is the type of transition. Although
social services had been involved with his family for several years, when
the transition did occur, Donal experienced it as unanticipated—sudden
and unplanned. His experience resonates with the perceptions of other children in similar situations (Ofsted, 2010; Christiansen and Andersson, 2010).
Below, Donal describes his perspectives:
I: When you were taken away from [your mother], did someone tell you why
that was happening?
Donal: I can remember the day I went like. All you seen was I came home
from school, seen my bags packed like I was going. I thought maybe we were
moving out or something. Seen this suitcase and computer, toys. I was going
to mummy ‘Are we moving out?’ and my mummy was sitting there crying.
. . . I thought Dympna [social worker] had done something to her so I ran
over and said, grabbed Dympna by the shoulder and said what did you do?
I: And what did she say to you?
Donal: You’re going away for a while.
I: For a while?
Donal: . . . I didn’t go like. I just stayed with my mummy and said [to
Dympna] go away. I ran away that day. I just headed off and came back
The difference between the professionals’ perception (where the transition
into care is viewed as an obvious conclusion to clear and cumulative concerns) and children’s own perception (where the reasons for the transition
are not clear) is an important distinction that also has implications in terms
of an individual’s acceptance of the transition. Donal’s feelings of shock and
his ambiguous relationship with his family context lead to difficulties in
adjusting to the new family context, as explored below.
Discussing Schlossberg’s conceptual framework, Goodman et al. (2006,
p. 39) argue that:
. . . even more important than the mere identification of the change is specifying the degree to which the particular transition changes the [individual’s] life. Assessment of a transition’s impact on relationships, routines,
assumptions, and roles is probably the most important consideration in
understanding an individual’s reactions (Goodman et al., 2006, p. 39, emphasis added).
As indicated earlier, Donal’s context shaped and defined his role as protector and provider for his brother David and his cousin Dougie. These roles
are no longer available in his foster placement. Instead of experiencing
relief, Donal experiences the removal of these roles as stressful. From the
position of his role as a carer, he both criticises the care provided to his
410 Karen Winter
brother by the foster-carer while also empathising with her given the challenges that his brother’s behaviour poses:
I: And you know when they were making those rules [about David’s care]
did they ask what your opinion was, did they get your view?
I: What do you think about that?
Donal: Don’t like it. That’s why I went bonkers.
I: You didn’t like it and that’s why you went bonkers?
Donal: Feeding him too much chocolate.
I: Are you worried about David?
Donal: Aha . . . God help him. God help Debbie too cause David is, sometimes David can be really, really annoying.
Donal’s feelings of loss regarding the removal of his roles as protector and
provider are heightened by the loss of choice and control over food, clothes
and activities in his new placement:
I: Where you’re living now in your foster placement, do you feel you have
any decisions that you can make yourself?
I: None at all? . . .
Donal: Debbie [foster mother] makes these dinners like even though I don’t
want anything and [at home] I was allowed to choose my clothes, I was
allowed to choose what [mum] would cook [and] I could choose either
staying in the house or going out to the front to play.
I: Do you not get that choice at all with your foster placement at the
Donal: No [Debbie says] you’re wearing your shorts and your top.
I: So in, in the foster placement, you’re not really involved in any decisions?
Donal: No she just makes the decisions. There are rules that I have to obey.
Further challenges are presented to Donal by the new family rules and
rhythms to which he has to adjust, as seen below:
Donal: . . . I just don’t like them [foster-carers].
Donal: Just think they, don’t like them, cause they send you to bed at eight
I: Is it their rules that you don’t like?
Donal: Yeah. Like, let’s see, no whistling, and that really annoys me, cause
I’ve a habit of whistling and everything.
Donal: Yeah. And no eating, well, you know, no eating, you’re only allowed
to eat in the dining room.
Understanding and Supporting Young Children’s Transitions 411
Donal: And just do what you’re told.
I: . . . What do you think about . . . that?
Donal: Don’t like it . . . they say all these different things like you’re too big
to be playing with toys and . . . .
I: You’re too big to be playing with toys.
Donal: And I have to do everything the same as them ones, like I’ve got to
go outside even if I don’t want to. And I have to do everything just to please
I: . . . And how does that make you feel?
Donal: Just unhappy.
Related research highlights the enormity of the challenge facing children
who transition into state care. Reimer (2010) notes that, regardless of
when the transition into foster-care took place, children:
. . . experienced feelings of bemusement, especially regarding family rules
(times for coming home in the evenings, afternoon nap for children) and
family habits (brushing teeth several times a day, taking lunch together at
the table and eating regular meals). It was always a challenge for them to
accept these rules and habits and to appreciate that it was part of the
foster family’s culture (Reimer, 2010, pp. 18 – 19).
While these aspects of family life are largely unspoken and remain largely
invisible within the private domain of the family, Schlossberg’s framework
draws attention to their centrality in terms of the impact of the transition
process. Furthermore, without the detailed perspectives of young children
like Donal, it is easy to see how practitioners can lose sight of what
matters to children.
Taking stock of coping resources
According to Schlossberg, a further important element to consider in relation to a person’s adjustment to their transition is their coping resources.
Schlossberg (Goodman et al., 2006, p. 55– 82) identifies these as the four
‘S’s, namely: the situation; supports available; self (internal qualities, attributes, characteristics); and strategies (to manage the transition). Schlossberg indicates that the ‘situation variable’ refers to how the individual
views the transition. Issues for consideration include: does the individual
perceive the transition as positive, negative, expected, unexpected,
desired or dreaded? Applied to Donal’s situation, he perceived the transition as unplanned, unwelcomed. It brought with it a loss of role, choice,
control and the imposition of new, unwelcomed rules and rhythms
(Ofsted, 2010; Reimer, 2010).
Self (Goodman et al., 2006, p. 65) concerns what type of strengths and
weaknesses an individual brings to the transition, what previous experience
they have, do they believe there are options, does the individual feel a sense
412 Karen Winter
of control? As identified earlier, Donal does not perceive that he has
control of his situation. Furthermore, as seen below, his ‘sense of self’ has
been negatively impacted because he perceives that his foster mother
does not respect him or like him, but views him as an unwelcome visitor:
I: . . . Hmm. How could they [foster-carers] treat you differently . . . ?
Donal: I don’t know . . . help me with whatever I need and just listen to me.
I: . . . Just listen to you, that’s what you would want?
Donal: I don’t get to do anything . . . . And I have money in my savings, my
savings like and she wouldn’t even bring me down and buy me Playstation
I: Yeah, why, would she not take you down to get them?
Donal: Well she says that she hasn’t got the time and she doesn’t want to . . . .
I think she’s just like I’m just anything like a fly or something buzzing
around the house.
I: . . . Is that the feeling that you get by being there?
Donal: . . . I’m just a pest like buzzing around the room.
Donal’s perception is indicative of his low self-esteem and is likely to affect
his ability to adjust. This is not uncommon, with Rostill-Brookes et al.
(2011) drawing attention to the profound emotional impacts on children
of transitions resulting in powerful feelings that, without the right supports,
are suppressed and denied. Schlossberg (Goodman et al., 2006, pp. 75– 8)
considers support systems in terms of their type (intimate, family, friends,
institutional), their functions (affect, affirmative, aid, honest feedback)
and their measurement (dependent, stable or changing). By virtue of his
separation from his birth family (and with no prospect of rehabilitation),
Donal no longer has access to support from them. He is therefore in a position where he needs to rely more on institutional support, his social worker
and foster-carers. These might be unstable because placements and social
workers change. As Donal indicates, he is scared to seek support in case
this is misinterpreted as ‘being cheeky’:
I: And are you able to tell your foster carers [about] these things?
I: No. Why is it that you think that you’re not able to say?
Donal: Cause I just have this wee thing like I can’t really say it. Like if I say
it out I’ll say it out wrong and I, I can’t keep it in.
I: And where does it go then?
Donal: Well I try and leave it to the next time but I’m a bit scared to do it
and try and say that’s disgraceful. I think it just kind of stays inside me.
I: . . . What do you think might happen if you tell somebody how you’re
Donal: Well they would think I was being cheeky.
Understanding and Supporting Young Children’s Transitions 413
This then leaves the question as to what strategies are available to Donal
(and children like him) to help him manage transitions. According to
Schlossberg’s framework, this could include identifying various coping
strategies; assessing the way an individual views the situation; and the
ways in which they manage their emotions (Goodman et al., 2006,
pp. 78– 82). Regarding Donal, he is struggling to cope with the reality of
his transition by suggesting that it would be easier if he was on the streets:
I: Where do you think you should be now?
Donal: I think I should be on the streets.
I: Do you? . . . You think you should be on the streets?
Donal: Well, I can’t go home and I can’t go and I don’t want to go to another
I: Do you not?
Donal: So there should be a street panel.
He also holds onto the dream of going home:
I: . . . When have you been happiest?
Donal: When I was, when I was minding David and the other one Dougie. I
felt like kind of an adult like. Only adults get to be like that.
I: You felt like an adult?
Donal: I think when minding the kids it was like two of them were sitting on
one of those big three-seater sofas and sitting like that there and me . . . I
wasn’t watching a movie, I was just watching them.
I: Were you?
Donal: Every time they looked at me I just went like that there (smiling)
and . . . .
I: . . . And that’s your happiest memory?
I: That’s a lovely memory.
Donal: That’s my home and that’s where I live.
I: That’s my home and that’s where I live?
Donal: That’s where I’ll stay forever.
Taking charge/strengthening resources
There is a concern, based on his account of his situation, his negative views
of himself, his perceived lack of supports and avoidant coping strategies,
that Donal could develop maladaptive responses which, if unresolved,
may cause further difficulties in forming trusting relationships and may contribute to future placement breakdown (Unrau et al., 2008; Rostill-Brookes
et al., 2011). Bearing in mind Schlossberg’s framework, Donal’s coping
resources obviously need to be strengthened. However, perhaps less
414 Karen Winter
obvious is what practitioners might practically do to help achieve this aim.
The remainder of this article considers three issues that emerge from
Donal’s perspectives, namely access to his right to (and need for) information, identity and involvement and how, in light of Schlossberg’s framework, these issues can be centralised in social work processes to help
strengthen Donal’s coping resources—each aspect also being illustrative
of ways in which more child-centred practice can be developed.
Within Schlossberg’s framework, as outlined earlier, there are four interrelated aspects to Donal’s coping resources that can be defined as either liabilities or assets and that will act either to support a successful transition or
to hinder it. The first of these (Donal’s situation) could be regarded as a liability in that he experienced an unplanned, sudden move over which he
had no choice and no control. In strengthening this aspect of a child’s
coping resources and transforming it from a liability to an asset, practitioners have a key role through the provision of information. Research
regarding children’s perspectives (Reimer, 2010; Christiansen and Andersson, 2010; Ofsted, 2010, 2012; Winter, 2010a) suggests that the provision of
‘transition information’ should be conceptualised as an ongoing process as
opposed to a one-off event—the latter being a feature of the current form
filling that accompanies the transition process (Winter, 2010b). ‘Transition
information’ for children should also be meaningful—containing the factual
detail regarding the circumstances leading to the transition. It should also
be accessible—that is, in a format that can be stored long after the oral
transmission of the events surrounding the transition has been lost,
diluted and distorted with the inevitable changes of social worker/placement, for example. These small practical steps, through which children
can own and control their own access to information, are very significant
in terms of supporting them, when they are ready, to re-visit their situation,
make sense of and adjust to it in a time frame dictated by their own pace and
not the planning process pace.
Within Schlossberg’s framework, another aspect of coping resources is
‘self’. Again, in Donal’s case, this could be regarded as a liability given
his negative views of himself, his role and his identity within his new placement—views held by other children in similar situations (Rostill-Brookes
et al., 2011; Reimer, 2010; McMurray et al., 2011). Practitioners have a
key responsibility in strengthening this aspect of coping resources
through the preservation and development of children’s personal narrative
and identity. This (as highlighted above) relies in part on providing information about children’s histories but can also be supported by practitioners
maintaining a child’s positive links with/to the past (i.e. people, places and
possessions) which, in themselves, can act as supports. Practitioners also
play a key role in negotiation and advocacy with new carers about children’s
tastes, preferences and routines. Although seemingly self-evident, McMurray et al. (2011) highlight that this vital practitioner role can often be overlooked as other priorities take precedence.
Understanding and Supporting Young Children’s Transitions 415
Schlossberg’s framework also highlights the importance of personal strategies as a coping resource. One way that practitioners can strengthen children’s strategies (and prevent reliance on avoidant coping strategies like
those developed by Donal) is through their involvement in all aspects of
the transition process. This finding is supported by the work of Reimer
(2010), McMurray et al. (2011) and Ofsted (2012), which highlights that,
to date, the transitions of young children into care have been primarily perceived as actions undertaken for and on behalf children (rather than with
them). It is clear, for example, that children’s successful adjustment to transitions into care is founded, in part, upon the development of a shared
understanding between carer and child of each other’s routines, rules and
roles and the accommodation of (or negotiation and compromise around)
what are often minor differences but which, as Reimer (2010, p. 21) highlights, ‘can produce fear, anxiety and distress in children’ if misunderstood.
Applied to one case study, this article has explored how Schlossberg’s transition framework might help towards the development of more childcentred practice regarding young children’s transitions into public care.
Underpinning the application of this framework is the belief that childcentred practice begins with and relies on: a respect for each individual
child; the assumption that children, while having different stories, do
have a story to tell; and the creation of spaces to allow children’s perspectives to challenge and inform child-centred research, policy and practice.
However, in so doing, the article also raises more fundamental questions
that need to be addressed if we are serious about this. First, child-centred
practice involves more than just listening to children—it involves acting
upon the information they share. The challenge in moving from listening
to children to acting upon the information children share is inextricably
linked to personal, professional and organisational assumptions about the
status of the child and judgements (often unconscious) regarding the validity, reliability and significance of their experiences and perspectives. This in
turn requires an examination of our own attitudes towards children.
Second, child-centred practice is inextricably linked to the development
of meaningful, respectful relationships between children and their social
workers. This requires time, resources and, in turn, raises issues about
how far organisations are actually committed to this way of working
where quality of relationship needs to come before quantity of caseload
and/or output? Or can we have both? Lastly, the development of childcentred practice requires supporting research that seeks to reveal and
elevate young children’s perspectives to the level at which they can
impact on policy and practice. In this regard, the article might be read by
some as essentially what it is—research detailing the account of one child
416 Karen Winter
about their experience of transition. We could therefore conclude ‘very
interesting but . . . ’. And yet, the messages in the article, from Donal and
other children, are clear and focus our minds on the enormity of the transition experience and the complex array of emotional, practical and social
challenges that accompany the journey. This, and other related research
regarding children’s perspectives, should galvanise us to think seriously
about what child-centred practice in relation to young children’s transitions
into state care might look like theoretically, conceptually and in practice
terms. It is hoped that this article makes a contribution to these
The author would like to thank the reviewers for their very helpful and
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Copyright of British Journal of Social Work is the property of Oxford University Press / USA
and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without
the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or
email articles for individual use.
APA 6th Edition Guidelines: Annotated Bibliography
An annotated bibliography is the full citation of a source followed by notes and commentary
about the source. The word “annotate” means “critical or explanatory notes” and the word
“bibliography” means “a list of sources”. Annotations should be critical in addition to being
Format: The format for an annotated bibliography is similar to the References page of an APA
paper with the addition of the descriptive paragraphs. Use one-inch margins on all sides, double
space your entries, and alphabetize each entry. Hanging indents are required for citations. On the
line after the citation, indent two additional spaces and write the annotation.
Hint: Noodlebib is a great tool to use to create your annotated bibliography. Remember to add
an APA formatted title page.
Example of a journal article with DOI:
Calkins, S., & Kelley, M. (2007, Fall). Evaluating internet and scholarly sources across the
disciplines: Two case studies. College Teaching, 55(4), 151-156.
This article discusses the problem of unintentional online plagiarism and many
students’ inability to evaluate, critique, synthesize, and credit online sources properly.
Two case studies from different disciplines, which were designed to foster critical
evaluation of the Internet and scholarly sources, are discussed in detail. The CARS
(Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, Support) checklist for evaluating research
sources is also introduced and applied in these case studies. I found this article useful
because much of the content of these case studies can be easily adapted to fit
assignments in different academic disciplines. One information literacy assignment in
one quarter at college is not enough. If students are expected to use the Internet in a
responsible way, educators must provide guidelines and relevant experience that
allows students to apply those guidelines in practical ways.
For annotated bibliographies, use standard APA format for the citations, then add a brief entry,
• 2 to 4 sentences to summarize the main idea(s) of the source.
o What are the main arguments?
o What is the point of this book/article?
o What topics are covered?
• 1 or 2 sentences to assess and evaluate the source.
o How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography?
o Is this information reliable?
o Is the source objective or biased?
• 1 or 2 sentences to reflect on the source.
o Was this source helpful to you?
o How can you use this source for your research project?
o Has it changed how you think about your topic?
Example of a journal article when DOI is not available:
Calkins, S., & Kelley, M. (2007, Fall). Evaluating internet and scholarly sources across the
disciplines: Two case studies. College Teaching, 55(4), 151-156. Retrieved from
This article discusses the problem of unintentional online plagiarism and many
students’ inability to evaluate, critique, synthesize, and credit online sources properly.
Two case studies from different disciplines, which were designed to foster critical
evaluation of the Internet and scholarly sources, are discussed in detail. I found this
article useful because much of the content of these case studies can be easily adapted
to fit assignments in different academic disciplines. One information literacy
assignment in one quarter at college is not enough. If students are expected to use the
Internet in a responsible way, educators must provide guidelines and relevant
experience that allows students to apply those guidelines in practical ways.
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