Headlines: December 17th, 2009

The longer children stay in care the more likely they are to lose all contact with their parents, other family members and friends, the Children’s Rights Director says today. In a new report Dr Roger Morgan says once children have been in care for more than two years they have much less contact with their birth family and those in care for more than six years are likely to lose all links.

The report, ‘Keeping in touch’ is based on a survey of nearly 400 children and young people about keeping in touch and losing contact with their families and friends. It shows that family contacts can be lost for a variety of reasons, including children moving to new placements, siblings being adopted or simply time passing. In some circumstances, too, contact can be complicated because children may want to keep in touch with one person, but not their partner. In other cases, the report says, carers did not help children to stay in contact with their birth families.

Dr Morgan said: “The report provides some key insights for all those involved in looking after children in care. I hope it will encourage more support and accessibility for children to have contact with their families, and choice about that contact, in what can be very trying and challenging times.”

Welcoming the report, the Children’s Minister Delyth Morgan said children in care could often benefit from continued contact with their brothers, sisters and wider family and the Government had been clear that the right procedures should be in place to ensure this could happen.