Only three per cent of children in care in England are getting the independent support they may be entitled to by law, new research by Barnardo’s and the National Independent Visitor Development Project has found.
Local authorities in England have a legal obligation to provide children in care with access to such support in the form of adult mentors.
Access to mentorship provides children in care with a positive role model during the years when other aspects of their lives - such as where they are living and who is looking after them - are likely to change.
A freedom of information request sent out to 152 local authorities found that 1,000 children are currently waiting to be paired with an ‘independent visitor’.
Of these local authorities, eight are floating their legal obligations by providing no independent visitor services whatsoever.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
"Every single child needs an adult they can trust, who will be there for them and stay by their side no matter what life throws their way.
I urge Theresa May to ensure mentors are in place for young people who are at risk of dropping out of education, training or employment. Children in care already have a right to a mentor, but sadly our research shows they aren’t getting the support they need.
A key aim of the Government’s new strategy for care leavers is to support them into adult life. Providing enough mentors and signing up to the new, quality standards for independent visitors will help it achieve this.”
To make sure children get the support they are legally entitled to, Barnardo's and the National Independent Visitor Project are asking government, local authorities and voluntary sector organisations to consider signing up to a new set of quality standards.
Find out more in our National Independent Vistor Data Report.
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