Children in care who have been moved frequently from placement to placement are nearly three times more likely to be detained in a youth offending institution or prison, according to new research.
The What Makes The Difference project found that the number of moves showed “the most striking correlations with negative outcomes”. Those with the least placement stability were more likely to say that being in care had been detrimental to their education. Thirty-eight per cent of respondents said that they had been “left to get on with it” when leaving care.
The project is a coalition of 60 organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors. It trained 33 young people who had been in care themselves to conduct interviews with care leavers. In all, 265 young people aged between 15 and 23 were interviewed from 25 local authority areas. The “peer research” found that 40% of looked-after children are moved more than five times during their time in care and that that 6% had been moved more than 21 times.
The research was launched yesterday at the National Care Leavers Week Conference in London. Parliamentary under-secretary for children, young people and families Kevin Brennan, who spoke at the conference, said: ‘We know that in the past society has failed our children in care, which is why we want local authorities, carers and schools to work together to give children in care a decent start in life. I want to assure care leavers that I will always listen to what they are telling me and do all I can to make sure they have a greater say in decisions that affect them.’
For more information
Care Leavers Association