Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
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Children going into care

The experiences of children placed into care are revealed in a new report today. Among the experiences are many children not knowing that they are going into care until it actually happens and then having no choice about where they are going to live. Of 28 children who did not know they were going into care, 18 were emergency admissions.

Before care, the latest report by Children’s Rights Director for England, Dr Roger Morgan, is a small but significant survey of 50 children, from different authorities across the country, who recently entered the care system. It provides first hand accounts of children’s experiences before entering care and raises concerns about how ill informed and unprepared some children are when they come into care. As one child expressed, 'someone could have talked to me and told me what was happening' and another said '… not just dump in a placement, pass over my bags and some forms and leave me with strangers!!'.

However, the report also shows that once children are in care, the majority (35) felt the right decision had been made for them to be placed into care, with 38 children reporting that their life was generally better since they came into care. One child explains: 'my life has been a fair amount happier and quite a lot more settled since'.

Just over half (26) of the children surveyed said that they received help from social workers before being placed into care; 15 did not get any help. However, of those children who did receive help, very few thought that extra help would have been able to keep them out of care.

Commenting on the report, Dr Roger Morgan, Children’s Rights Director said:

'Coming into care is a major life change in any child’s life. However, it is made worse when children are not told what is happening to them and are unaware of where they are going to live. The fear and confusion that children experience when entering care could be lessened if they know at each stage what is happening to them. More must be done to inform and prepare children before they enter care.

'However, it is reassuring to hear from children that once they are in care their life is generally better. Some children expressed they felt safer, happier and more settled.'

There are many reasons why children are placed into care, but the three most usual reasons given by children surveyed were their own behaviour (they were getting in trouble, or their family were not able to cope with their behaviour), to protect the child from abuse or other risks at home and relationship problem with their families.

Notes for Editors

1. Before care is available on the Children’s Rights Director’s website and the Ofsted website

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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