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Overseen but often overlooked

Year: 2015
Topic: Children's hearings system, Corporate parenting, Education, Health and Wellbeing, Legislation, Looked after at home, Permanence, Throughcare and aftercare, Voices of young people
Author: Vicki Welch, Jennifer Lerpiniere, Emma Young, Sue Sadler, John Paul Fitzpatrick

Children and young people 'Looked after at Home'

Little attention and research has been paid to children looked after at home yet they make up a quarter of the looked after children population.

Main findings

  • The needs and circumstances of children looked after at home are complex, with their needs being as severe as many other looked after children.
  • Support services provided are often limited, inconsistent, and patchy. While service providers recognise the needs of these children, they can't always respond because sometimes they feel their duties to other looked after children must take precedence.
  • Outcomes for this group are some of the poorest in society, in particular poor education outcomes and involvement in the criminal justice system.

So what?

This study provides strong evidence that home supervision provides the best opportunity to support our most vulnerable children and families. And it also shows that this opportunity is often not realised. This suggests a strong case for multi-level and sustained change to systems and service provision is needed.

What next?

We are calling for greater investment in effective family support services which will bring about a more concentrated and consistent approach to assisting these young people and their families.


We were commissioned by Barnardo's to carry out this independent research.