Children in care feel less safe than they have previously reported, an Ofsted report has warned.
The children’s social care annual survey of more than 370,000 young people in care found that children in care felt less safe than in previous years. Additionally, children in children’s homes felt less safe than those who had been fostered.
In children’s homes, 69% of young people said they felt safe ‘all of the time’ in 2017 compared to 70% in 2016. This compared to 93% of children in foster care who reported feeling safe most of the time and which was the same level in 2016.
Children in care also reported feeling unsafe outside their foster home or children’s home. While 70% of foster children said they felt safe all of the time outside their foster home, a similar level of children in children’s homes, 69%, said they felt safe all of the time outside the residential home.
One 10 year old in a children’s home said: “It’s scary sometimes when other children kick off.”
Another 12 year old in a children’s home reported feeling anxious around people they didn’t know.
Young people in children’s homes reported receiving less help when they were struggling. Nine per cent said staff ‘rarely or never’ helped or supported them if they were being ‘picked on’ or were upset in comparison to four per cent in 2016 and three per cent in 2015. The figures were very similar for fostered children with nine per cent saying they were not supported when upset.
The survey found an increase in understanding from young people as to why they were in care during 2017 and this was more obvious in children’s homes. Children reported feeling confused and like they didn’t belong when they didn’t have an understanding as to why they were in care.
Ninety two per cent of young people in children’s homes said they had an understanding of why they were in care in 2017 compared to 84% the previous year. In foster care 95% said they understood why they were in care compared to 90% in 2016.