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Published, 13 April 2018

Ofsted ask children in England about life in care

The department responsible for inspecting care services in England has published a report focusing on how children and young people feel about living in children’s homes and what it’s like to live with foster carers.

Ofsted used online questionnaires to gather views from 1,527 children and young people living in children’s homes, and 1,630 children and young people living with foster carers.

The research, from 2017, aimed to highlight any changes from previous submissions collected in 2016, when one of the areas explored was whether respondents understood why they had been taken into care.

It was found that there was a small increase in the number of children who had been helped to understand why they were looked after, although some were unaware why their personal circumstances had changed.

“I am not completely sure why I am in foster care, I have kind of been told why but it’s a bit confusing. I have started life story work to help me understand better”

- aged 15, fostering

A range of negative experiences were recorded by Ofsted in relation to children and young people who live, or who have short breaks, in children’s homes.

These included:

  • 49% of responders reporting they had been restrained at some point in their current residential home
  • 44% have gone missing since living at their children’s home

For children and young people who live with, or have short breaks with foster carers, 9% said they had rarely or never been helped by their foster carers when someone had picked on or upset them. If they had made a complaint, 22% said it was not taken seriously or dealt with.

However, a series of improvements and positives were also registered.

Ofsted say the feedback they received, combined with information from previous inspections and other areas, will help to influence when inspections take place, and the areas they focus on in future. 

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