Children Tell Councils To Treat Them As Individuals

Children want a good home that is safe and to be treated as individuals, not as ‘children in care’, according to a report out today. In his consultation about the Government’s proposals in the Green Paper ‘Care Matters’, the Children’s Rights Director for England was told that the top promise children want councils to make to them is that they will have a good and safe home.

Roger Morgan, Children’s Rights Director, said: “Children have told me that above all they want councils to promise them a stable home, a safe environment and children’s homes that feel like a real home.

“They also want to be listened to, and, importantly, to be treated as individuals, because every child has different needs. If we are to adapt care services to the needs of children in the future, then we must listen to what would really help them to feel secure and to succeed in life.”

As well as a stable home and a safe environment, some of the children and young people said that a good home also meant not having to keep changing placements.

One person said having to constantly change school “affects our progress and eventually our future.” Another said: “It was a big shock to know that you are moving.”

It is vital that councils treat children as individuals and not just as children in care, according to the results of consultations.

Black children who responded said they wanted people not to think black children are likely to be trouble or hard to place. One young person said: “We are all different not just black.” Councils should be planning for every individual child, asking what is best for them and tailoring their services to meet their needs. They should be thinking about being black alongside everything else that is relevant.

Councils should also ensure they consult children about their care plans, and give them more access to social workers who can explain what the plan means. This would help children to understand what is going on.

Those who took part in the consultation said it is vital “to not keep children in the dark”. Some of the children and young people didn’t know what a care plan was, and others didn’t know what was in theirs, or knew that it was out of date.

Many told the consultation they wanted a clearer care plan, “you should be told how long it will be when you’re put into care, and when you’ll go back to your Mum and Dad.” Many of the ideas that children came up with are backed by proposals in the Green Paper.

Children rated highly the Government’s suggestion that councils should promise children support from a social worker when they needed it. Children also agreed with the promise that they should get a choice of when to move on from care, up to the age of 18.

Some of those who took part said young people were not ready to leave care at 16. One young person wrote “don’t put young people in flat at 16. Wait til young people ready.”

To read the report click here