Staying Connected: The views of looked after young people on their contact arrangements

Staying connected explores the views and experiences of children in care shared through the Your Life, Your Care surveys. It analyses over 7,500 responses and 3,000 comments to questions about spending time with their birth parents, brothers and sisters.

Key Findings

  • Happiness with how often children in care saw their family was important to their well-being. It was not whether they saw them or not that influenced their well-being, but whether they felt it was the right amount.
  • For every 10 children in care between 2 and 3 felt they saw their mums, dads, brothers or sisters too little. Most children and young people who commented wanted to see their family more often. Only 185 comments of the 3,000 were about family time being ‘just right’.
  • Not all children and young people wanted more contact. Out of every hundred children in care, 2 or 3 wanted contact to stop or be cut down.
  • Most of the written comments from children and young people were about how much they enjoyed living with their brothers or sisters and missed those who did not live with them. A few felt they saw them too much.
  • Most children and young people wanted to see their parents and siblings, but they also wanted to see extended family members, pets or other adults who were important to them.
  • Children and young people commented on small dull contact venues with few activities and the intrusive behaviour of supervisors.
  • Half of the young people felt involved in decision-making and that their wishes were listened to. Others felt ignored and that decisions were made for them.
  • Some children and young people wrote about things not being explained or of not being informed about their families, especially their dads.