One in 20 young people in children’s homes “do not feel safe” where they live or stay, a major study has revealed.
The finding forms part of a new Ofsted survey, which “explores the views of children in residential care and living away from home”.
According to the latest statistics, around 80,000 children are looked after in England. While around 72 per cent of those live with foster carers, the remaining number live in children’s homes, residential special schools or in alternative social care accommodation.
The researchers asked these children about the place where they live or stay, with questions including “do you feel well cared for?”, “do staff/carers listen to you if you are feeling upset or worried?” and “what do you like best about being here?”.
The survey, which received more than 7,000 responses, found that the vast majority (95 per cent) of young people feel safe “always” or “most of the time”, but the system is still letting down a significant proportion – or around five per cent – of society’s most vulnerable group.
This falls to just one per cent among children who live with foster carers – indicating that there is a gap in the quality of care in children’s homes.
The research also found that there was an increase in the number of children in boarding school or in residential accommodation in further education (FE) who felt they were “not helped to do well with their school or college work”, while children “frequently” said that they “wished they could stay where they were for longer and that they would not have to move on when they were 18”.
Commenting on the findings, Yvette Stanley, Ofsted’s National Director for Social Care, said: “These surveys are really important, and I want to thank everyone who gave us their views.
“It’s important to know how children and young people feel about those who support them, and brilliant to see that so many children are happy where they live and with the care that they receive.”
However, “there is always room for improvement”, said Ms Stanley, adding that Ofsted “will use this feedback to help us focus our inspections on the things that matter to children.”
To access the Ofsted survey results, please click here.
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