Become welcomes the release by Ofsted of Children’s social care questionnaires 2016: what children told us, but is concerned by its findings that suggest that children aren’t being adequately prepared for their placements.
Chloë Cockett, Policy and Research Manager at Become, said: “The publication of this latest questionnaire by Ofsted is an important next step on the journey towards actually putting children at the heart of the care they receive within the care system.
“Despite many positives, including 99 per cent of children in foster homes and 92 per cent of children in children’s homes feeling safe all/most of the time, it still shows how far we have to go to give children the experience of care that they deserve. It is of huge concern that this report has revealed that a third of children did not receive any useful information about where their local authority expects them to spend a part of their childhood.
“Imagine being seven years old and one day a social worker whom you might have just met puts you in a car and starts driving. Imagine not knowing where you’re going. Imagine not knowing the names of the adults who will be caring for you. Imagine not knowing if they have a dog or a cat, or if you’ll have new siblings by lunch time. Imagine that, and then consider whether we, as a care system, should do more to ensure that each child has useful information about what their life is about to become.
“In addition to this half of children are unable to visit their future foster family, and one in three are unable to visit their children’s home, before they move in. Local authorities, by facilitating this relatively simple action, could help to strengthen the bond that will need to grow between child and carer so that positive relationships can flourish and provide a foundation to build a future from.
“All children in care have experienced some form of trauma in their childhood and, by being in care, are separated from their family. They often feel particularly vulnerable and anxious about change, and by not keeping them informed of the changes to their lives we are not keeping their best interests at heart.
“There has been huge progress in supporting children to realise why they are in care, but this report makes it obvious that more needs to be done. With the impending fostering stocktake this is an ideal time to continue to evolve how we support children so that they have the security and stability to thrive within our care system.
“By ensuring that children have useful information relating to their placement, and by ensuring that foster carers have all the information available about the children they will be caring for, we can create placements which are solid and built to last for as long as they are needed.”
You can download the full report from the Government’s website.