The Fostering Network is concerned at revelations in a new report, which heard from over 1,000 children in care, care leavers, and professionals, showing that children and young people are not receiving their legal entitlements.
Jackie Sanders, head of media and campaigns at the Fostering Network, said: “The report reveals worrying statistics that only reinforce the importance of our ongoing campaigns Don’t Move Me and Tick the Box.”
The report shows:
• Over 70 per cent of children in care and 80 per cent young care leavers do not think they have all the information they need about the support they should receive from their local authority;
• More than one third of children in care do not know if they have a care plan, a vital document which sets out important decisions about the child’s life such as where they are going to live, whether they are allowed to have contact with their family and what they want to happen in the future;
• More than one in five children in care say their social worker does not visit them alone, meaning they may be unable to raise concerns about their safety or welfare without being overheard;
• One third of care leavers are not aware their local authority must help them with costs of being in education or training, and fewer than half know their local authority has to help them with accommodation during the holidays if they go on to higher education. Care leavers who are unaware of this support are likely to be deterred from continuing in education.
Sanders continued: “There is no doubt that children and young people should be made aware of all the facts to do with their care, so that they can approach independence with a clear pathway into a positive future.”
As well as offering revealing insights into how young people feel they are prepared for independence, the Entitlements Inquiry report, published today by The Who Cares? Trust, sets out 10 recommendations, developed with young people, to improve the way that children in care and care leavers can access the support they have a right to.
These include asking local authorities to set realistic and manageable maximum caseloads for social workers and personal advisors, to ensure that they have enough time to spend regular and quality time with the children and young people on their caseload.
You can download a summary of the full report, or the full report, on The Who Cares? Trust website.
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