Children in care moving between placements ‘a thousand times every week’ in England

Children in care are moving between placements a thousand times every week in England, according to fresh analysis of Government figures.

Children’s care placements have changed more than 220,000 times between 2018 and 2021, according to charities’ analysis of figures on looked-after children published by the Department for Education (DfE).

This is the equivalent of 1,059 changes every week, the coalition of seven children’s charities said.

In 64% of the changes in 2021, the reason for the young person being moved on was concern about abuse or neglect, they said.

It comes as more than a hundred young people with experience of being in care were gathering in Parliament on Wednesday, urging MPs to act to fix the social care system.

Some will wear lost luggage labels – to highlight how they are being moved from place to place.

They will gather to mark the It’s Our Care Day of Action and ensure political leaders hear their voices.

They will share experiences with MPs to mark the It’s Our Care Day of Action, while others will participate in private meetings with Government ministers and senior opposition politicians.

It takes place a month after a landmark review by Josh MacAlister, which called for a “radical reset” to improve the lives of children in care and their families.

Sir Peter Wanless (pictured), chief executive of the NSPCC, part of the coalition, said: “For far too long the voices and experiences of children in care have been missing from the decisions that most impact them but today they will ring around the heart of Westminster.

“The Care Review was bold because it listened to these voices, and it is now over to Government to show the leadership needed to transform the system to put children first.”

Brigid Robinson, managing director of Coram Voice, another coalition member, said: “Far too often we hear from children and young people being moved from place to place, denied a say about where they want to live, and left unable to trust the adults responsible for their care.

“Today’s Our Care Day of Action is a vital opportunity to put young people’s voices at the heart of care reform, and hear firsthand what needs to change to ensure care works for all the children and young people who need it.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Keeping vulnerable children safe is at the heart of government policy. That’s why we commissioned the Independent Care Review, which has recommended widescale reform to the system.

“Since the publication of this review, we have committed to a major reset of the system that will be overseen by a new National Implementation Board of sector experts and people with experience of the care system.

“This comes ahead further plans that we will announce later this year, to bring about a fundamental shift in how children’s social care is set out.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2022, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) NSPCC.