Children in care move home with belongings in bin bags

Children in care move home with belongings in bin bags

Four out of five children in care have moved home with their belongings in bin bags, the National Youth Advocacy Service has found.

The NYAS also revealed that three in five care experienced young people will have their belongings lost or damaged when moving.

Rita Waters, NYAS Group CEO says, “All too often for children in care, they have a negative experience when moving from one home to another; it’s not good enough and needs to change. That is why the NYAS ‘My Things Matter’ campaign is asking local authorities to help make the moving experience as good as it can be for children and young people.”

Every 20 minutes, a child in care moves home in England or Wales, equating to over 26,000 children in England and 2,200 children in Wales. The NYAS receives 10,000 referrals a year to advocate for care-experienced children and young people and have found that moving when in care can cause serious problems for many who young people.

One care leaver, 18-year-old Daniel, described the practice of his belongings being moved in bin bags as “inhumane” and “humiliating”.

The NYAS research based on an FOI request found that only one in three local authorities have formal written guidance to support staff when moving children and young people in care.

NYAS has launched the My Things Matter campaign and is urging all local authorities across England and Wales to sign up to a pledge outlining five promises, when moving children and young people in care, so they don’t have their belongings moved in bin bags.

Neath Port Talbot is the first local authority to sign the My Things Matter pledge. Local authorities who sign up are eligible to receive free pack-away travel bags from leading UK bag brand Madlug to provide to children in their care when they move.

As part of the campaign, local authorities are being asked to commit to supporting five pledges:

  1. We will help you to keep your most precious belongings with you safely during your move and promise they will not be moved in bin bags.
  2. We will provide written guidance for you and anyone helping you to move, which we will publish on our website.
  3. We will never move or throw away your belongings without your consent and will always respect your personal property.
  4. We will support you to make a complaint if any of your belongings have been lost or damaged during your move.
  5. We will communicate with you about your move and ask you how the move went.

Dave Linton, founder and CEO of Madlug, who donate a bag to care-experienced children for every sale of their products, said: “I am excited to be partnering with NYAS in the ‘My Things Matter’ campaign because we can increase awareness of the bin bag issue, challenge local authorities to treat their incredible children with value, worth and dignity, along with providing a practical solution to enable the execution of their commitment.”

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