Coram Voice publishes insight paper on stigma in the care system

Published: Wednesday 4th March 2020

Coram Voice has today (4 March) released a new insight paper, as part of its Bright Spots programme, looking at how stigma around care affects children in care and care leavers.

Developed in partnership with the Rees Centre at the University of Oxford, the paper shows that being singled out, being stereotyped and treated differently is an on-going issue for both children in care and care leavers.

As part of the research, children in care and care leavers told us that they feel that adults often do things that make them feel embarrassed about being in care. They described how the behaviours and actions of their social workers, teachers and others who support them can make them feel singled out and reinforce the stigma associated with care experience.

The research finds:

  • About 1 in 8 young people in care (12%) aged 11-18 years felt adults did things which made them ‘feel embarrassed about being in care’
  • Although most young people did not report being made to feel embarrassed, the rates who did varied from 6% to 25% in local authorities
  • 1 in 10 care leavers felt that, as a care leaver, they have been treated worse than other young people

The Bright Spots programme works to support local authorities to systematically listen to their children in care and care leavers about the things that are important to them. This paper follows on from the Bright Spots ‘Your Life Your Care and Your Life Beyond Care‘ surveys, where local authorities have been hearing from children and young people about the issues they face.

Dr. Claire Baker, Senior Practice Advisor of the Bright Spots programme at Coram Voice, says: “Through the research and work with local authorities, we have found some great initiatives working with children and young people to change their experience of stigma.”  

Read the full insight paper