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Children’s Rights Director Roger Morgan publishes the annual Children’s care monitor today which gives nearly 2,000 children’s views through an online survey. This year, the monitor survey included a new focus on children’s experiences of placement change in care. Just over half (55%) of the children in care in the 2011 survey told us they were only given a week or less notice before they were last moved to live in a different placement. Twenty-three per cent reported that they were given no notice at all of their last move and were told on the same day they were moved.
As in previous years, the 2011 survey found a high level of separation of siblings in care. Nearly three quarters (73%) of children in care who also had a sibling in care reported that they had been separated in different placements. Children in children’s homes were found to be more likely than children in foster homes to be separated from siblings in care. In fact, 96% of children surveyed in children’s homes who also had siblings in the care system had been separated from brothers or sisters. Up to the time of the survey, the average number of times children responding had moved placements had risen from 4 in 2010 to 5 in 2011. Well over half (57%) of children in care surveyed said they had no choice of placement the last time they were moved.
The care monitor is a unique annual report of children’s views in care. It also reports the views and experiences of children living away from home in boarding schools and residential further education colleges. It looks at things that are important to children including keeping safe, bullying, having a say in what happens, placements, making complaints and what happens once you leave care. It is used by the Government as a regular children’s monitor of the care system.
Children’s Rights Director, Roger Morgan said:
'Part of my job, as well as asking children for their views, is to give advice on children’s rights and welfare to the Government and Ofsted. The Children’s Care Monitor looks at things that are important to the lives of children in care. What is good to see is that 89% of children in care in the 2011 monitor survey rated their overall care as good or very good. Moving homes can sometimes create a great deal of disruption so it is worrying that so many children are reporting that they were given little or no notice before moving placements. It is also worrying to learn there was little choice of placements in which to move. The continued high rate of separation of siblings in different placements in care remains a major concern to children.
'Bullying has long been reported as a major concern for children, both in care and for those living in residential education. The report shows that the level of bullying is highest in residential special schools. Alongside this however it is encouraging that children in residential special schools also reported their staff to be engaging strongly in countering bullying, reporting greater staff involvement in trying to stop bullying in residential special schools than in other settings.'
As well as those in care, a section of the report also focuses on those about to leave care or those who have already left. There was a total of 574 young people who answered questions on preparing to leave care.
Matthew Coffey, National Director for Learning and Skills said:
'Roger Morgan and his team work tirelessly to collect the views of children and young people, in turn this helps Ofsted better understand some of the issues faced by both children in care and care leavers.
'Twenty-nine per cent of the care leavers taking part in this survey, were not in education, employment or training. It is worrying that the percentage of care leavers in work or training has been steadily falling from 17% in 2009, to 15% in 2010 and down again to 12% in 2011. Of those about to leave care, it is equally concerning that the percentage saying they receive help in finding work fell from 60% last year to 52% this year. It is important for Ofsted to work with the sector to highlight these findings and ensure that the most vulnerable individuals are given the best possible opportunities to achieve their ambitions in life, work and learning.'
1. Children’s care monitor 2011 report can be found on the Children’s Rights Director’s website www.rights4me.org and the Ofsted website.
The report gives the views of 1,870 children and young people who completed the monitoring survey online in 2011, and 25 more children and young people answered some of the questions using the Children’s Rights Director Roger Morgan’s Widget questionnaire.
The 1,870 children surveyed were receiving services from 168 different social care services across England. They include 71 local authorities, 22 independent fostering agencies, 20 independent children’s homes, 15 boarding schools, 30 residential special schools and 10 residential further education colleges.
2. The Children’s Rights Director for England has independent statutory duties to ascertain and report the views of children living away from home or in care, to advise on children’s rights and welfare, and to raise matters he considers significant to the rights or welfare of the children in his remit.
3. The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children's social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.
4. Media can contact the Ofsted Press Office via Ofsted's enquiry line 0300 123 1231 between 8.30am - 6.30pm Monday - Friday. Out of these hours, during evenings and weekends, the duty press officer can be reached on 07919 057359.
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