Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
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Children’s views are still not being heard

Children’s Rights Director, Dr Roger Morgan, publishes the third annual Children’s care monitor report today, giving children’s assessment of social care in England in 2010. Of the 1,123 children who responded just over half (53%) of children who are in care or live away from home have a say in what happens to them. And when they are able to voice their views, only 51% said it made a difference to decisions made about their lives, with 15% of children saying that their opinions did not make a difference.

The Children’s care monitor report is a unique annual report of children’s views who are in care or living away from home. It looks at issues that children see as important which they want to be checked every year including: keeping safe, bullying, having a say in what happens, making complaints and suggestions, education, and care planning for people being looked after in care.

Every child in care should have a care plan and should have a say in that plan. The plan sets out how children are to be cared for and the plans for their future. However, the report reveals that there continues to be children in care who are not aware or not sure of their plans. Of the 780 children who responded, 22% did not know whether they had a care plan or were not aware what it was. For those who did know about their care plan, 61% said they had a say in it, however, 18% of children reported they did not have a say, much the same figure as the past two years.

Dr Roger Morgan, Children’s Rights Director for England said:

'This third annual monitoring report of children’s views reveals that compared to previous years, the children surveyed are less anxious about their safety and in general there is a decline in bullying being reported. However, the report highlights that still not enough is being done to ensure children are consulted on what happens to their lives and that their opinions are considered and can make a difference to decisions made.

'While it is good to see that care leavers are receiving better support to prepare them for higher education, I am concerned that the number of young people receiving help to get a job is falling. More must be done to open opportunities in all areas, whether it is education or work, if we are to help children in care transform their lives.”

For care leavers responding to the survey, the report reveals that over the last three years, there has been a drop in the number of care leavers reporting getting help to get a job (44% in 2008, 36% in 2009 and 34% in 2010). However, there has been a slight increase in the number of care leavers reporting getting support to go into higher education (38% in 2008, 40% in 2009 and 45% in 2010).

Notes for Editors

1. Children’s care monitor 2010 report can be found on the Children’s Rights Director’s website and the Ofsted website.

The report gives the views of 1,155 children and young people who completed the monitoring survey online in 2010, plus 17 disabled children and young people who answered some of the questions using Widget symbol language.

The 1,155 children surveyed were receiving services from 111 different social care services across England. They include 48 local authorities, 15 independent fostering agencies, 11 independent children’s homes, eight boarding schools, 12 residential special schools and 17 residential further education colleges.

794 children and young people who completed the 2010 monitor survey were from care.

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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