Headlines: November 17th, 2009

Children in care are concerned about losing touch with brothers and sisters, not getting enough support from social workers and about how councils are preparing them for the future, according to the latest report from England’s Children’s Rights Director. The report was presented to delegates at a Government run conference assessing the care system.

‘Children’s messages to the Minister’ was produced by Dr Roger Morgan based on first-hand accounts of their experiences from children in care. It reports children’s views from a survey and from focus groups as well as those expressed at a conference attended by Baroness Delyth Morgan, the Minister for Children, Young People and Families. It is designed to be part of the Government’s ‘stocktake’ of how well services are supporting children in care and care leavers.

One of the young people’s main concerns is being separated from siblings even though they had wanted to stay together and that decisions about this are often being made without their being asked. Siblings in care also tend to lose touch with each other and those who manage to maintain contact often have to arrange this themselves. Levels of support from social workers were also raised with general agreement that seeing a social worker less than once a month was not enough, although the children did recognise the challenges social workers faced.

Dr Morgan said: “It is essential that the views of children are heard so we can find out first-hand how well they are being supported and what can be done to improve their lives and future life chances. It is worrying that 54 per cent of young people responding to the survey felt that councils were not preparing them to get good jobs in the future, but we can also see some signs that things are improving.”