THE BIG ISSUES
What are the main issues affecting children in care?
Identity is formed by outside experiences, but also family history, culture, religion and race. Being in care will also form part of a looked after child’s identity, but understanding their past, their birth family and culture, religion and race will all be crucial to help looked after children develop their own sense of identity.
Contact refers to the ways that children in care keep in touch with siblings, birth parents and other family members while they are in care.
Children who enter the care system enter at different times during their education journey. There is support available to care experienced young people at each stage of their education.
A high proportion of care leavers are not in employment and training by the age of 19, compared to their non-looked after peers.
Living independently requires a care leaver to manage their money, pay their bills on time and live on a budget.
Many children in care experience poor emotional wellbeing and some experience diagnosable mental health problems. These can be caused by pre-care experiences or by the impact of being in care.
Everyone needs somewhere that we call home; having the chance to settle into a foster or residential placement over a period of time gives children a feeling of belonging, helping them feel secure in themselves and their identity.
There’s lots of legislation, regulation and guidance that tells children in care and care leavers what rights and entitlements they have because they are, or have been, looked after children.
Children who do not have any parents or guardians with them when they arrive in the UK are put into the care system, meaning they’ll live in foster or residential children’s homes and the local authority will act as their corporate parents.