The largest study of its kind, has revealed 83 per cent of looked after children and young people feel being in care has improved their lives.
[…] whilst the majority of young people are positive about their experiences of care, the findings highlight where improvements are needed. Of the youngest children surveyed (4-7 year olds), over half (53%) thought it not had been fully explained to them why they were in care, and almost a quarter (23%) were unsure of who their social worker was. In addition, almost a fifth (19%) of 8-10 year olds do not feel listened to or included in decisions made about them.
Professor Julie Selwyn CBE, Director of the University of Bristol’s Hadley Centre for Adoption and Foster Care Studies and lead author of the study said:
“The results of the survey show that most children and young people are flourishing in care but about 18% of young people (11-18yrs) are not. Young people with low wellbeing did not feel settled and felt that they were being moved from placement to placement. The detrimental impact of a lack of a trusted adult in these children’s lives cannot be over-estimated.”
The study also uncovered that girls and children with black or mixed ethnicity reported lower wellbeing. Happiness with appearance is an especially significant factor in predicting girls’ wellbeing, along with being given opportunities to be trusted, liking their bedrooms, doing the same things as friends, having a trusted adult, feeling safe and not being afraid to go to school because of bullying.
In comparison with young people of other ethnicities, a larger proportion of the mixed ethnicity group had experienced five or more placements, disliked school, did not understand why they were in care and were the least positive about their future.
Brigid Robinson, Managing Director of Coram Voice said: “In addition to the 16 covered in this report, since last year, a further 15 local authorities in England and Wales have become involved in the Bright Spots programme, showing that they can really see the potential benefit for their services. We are able to work with even more authorities this coming year and urge anyone interested to get in touch with us to find out more.”