Mark Whitehead 19 February 2018

Most children in care believe it has improved their lives, survey reveals

The majority of looked after children (83%) believe being in case has improved their lives, according to the results of a new study.

The survey of more than 2,000 children and young people by the charity Coram Voice and Bristol University also found the longer they are in care, the more likely they are to feel a sense of wellbeing.

The ‘Our Lives Our Care’ study involved online surveys of children aged 4-7 years, 8-10 years and 11-18 years and is the first to focus on how children feel themselves about their wellbeing and their lives in care

The researchers say that comparing the figures with studies of young people in the general population, a larger proportion of children in care feel safe where they are living and that their carers are interested in their education.

However, more than half of the youngest children surveyed thought it not had been fully explained to them why they were in care, and almost a quarter were unsure who their social worker was.

Almost a fifth of 8-10 year-olds said they did not feel listened to or included in decisions made about them.

The latest government figures show there are over 72,000 children in care in England, with the largest majority in care due to parental abuse and neglect

Coram's CEO Dr Carol Homden, said: 'It is encouraging to hear that such a large majority of children and young people in care feel their lives are improving and that for most, the care system is providing them with the safety, support and opportunities they need to thrive.

'However the results show us that we can and must take action to address the avoidable losses of care so that children feel “normal” and are able to do the same things as their friends, have an understanding of why they are where they are, and a part to play in decisions that affect them.'

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