Every child and young person who comes into care needs to know why and have opportunities to discuss the reasons this happened whenever they feel unclear.
Our Bright Spots Insight Paper ‘Understanding why you are in care’ explains why this is important to children and young people and shares ideas and resources for how to support them with this.
Every child and young person who comes into care needs to know why and have opportunities to discuss the reasons this happened whenever they feel unclear. Coming to an understanding about this life-changing event is the ‘right’ of every child or young person and fundamental to their development, identity and emotional well-being (Adshead, 2012; Adler, 2012; NICE, 2013). When this does not happen, it can lead children to feel insecure, unwanted, and responsible for being in care – factors that can have a severe negative impact on their self-worth and well-being (Staines and Selwyn, 2019).
The Bright Spots National Findings
Based on responses from our Bright Spots surveys with children in care and care leavers we found:
- Younger children (those aged 4 to 7) were more likely to be confused or unclear about why they were in care – half felt they hadn’t had an explanation from an adult.
- Young people (aged 11-18) were more likely to feel they had received a satisfactory explanation but about a fifth were unsure or did not know. Boys were more likely to feel they knew enough.