Almost half of children in care fear being stigmatised because of their background, according to a report published today by the children’s rights director for England.
The Care and Prejudice report surveyed 362 children from children’s homes and foster care across the country. Overall, children in care – especially girls, young people in children’s homes, those who had spent longest in care and disabled children – believe that the general public has a negative view of children in care as uncontrollable and trouble-makers.
Detrimental impact of length of time in care
The report found the longer children spent in care, the more likely they were to report sometimes being treated worse by people in positions of influence such as teachers or employers. Those who had spent over six years in care were most likely to say that being in care had stopped them from seeing their family and siblings regularly.
Where children were placed in care also made a big difference to their experiences. Children in foster care were more likely than those in children’s homes to say they had been treated better for being in care. They were also more likely to say they had more love and care, whereas those in children’s homes were more likely to say they had been given more help and support, the report claimed.
Children’s rights director Roger Morgan said: “Children in care face a lot of challenges and unfortunately this can also include prejudices they encounter from other children, the general public, teachers and some professionals. Their concerns are understandable because not living with your birth family makes a big difference to your life experience.
“What is needed is more guidance, particularly in schools, to support children in care if needed, but without treating them differently from other children. What is also needed is a more informed attitude by the general public.”