Posted: 08 May 2012

Young people in care tell parliamentary group: 'We need to be listened to'

Last week four young people from our programmes spoke at the Houses of Parliament about their experiences of being in care and running away or going missing. Representatives from our programmes, the government and other organisations also provided evidence.

The young people and adults spoke to the APPG inquiry into children who go missing or run away from care, which is looking at the support available to the thousands of children who go missing from care each year.

The young people said that they often knew little about where they would be placed in the care system. They explained that they wanted to know more about their placements in advance and have more control over their lives. Being listened to, asked what they think and feel, and being understood and not judged are the most important things to young people in care. 

Empowering young people to make positive choices

Richard Haigh from our SCARPA programme and Elise Noblet from The Children’s Society in Manchester spoke of their experience supporting young people who go missing. 

Elise raised concerns that sometimes children were often placed 'where there was a bed free, not where would be most suitable'.

Richard spoke about how SCARPA empowers young people to make positive choices, and that this requires building trust which takes both persistency and takes time. In fact, he compared SCARPA workers’ tenacity when representing young people to that of double-glazing salesmen – they don’t give up! 

During the session, MPs and peers also heard from Sue Berelowitz, the Deputy Children’s Commissioner; Roger Morgan, the Children’s Rights Director; Maggie Blyth, Chair of the Kent Local Safeguarding Children’s Board; Robert Tapsfield, Chief Executive of the Fostering Network; and Jonathan Stanley of the Independent Children’s Homes Association.

Additional sessions

In total, the inquiry will hold four oral evidence sessions that look at children going missing from care. The first two sessions explored gathering and sharing data on young people who run away from care, and why trafficked children go missing from care. The final sessions will be on 10 May.

Led by two parliamentary groups, the inquiry aims to develop a report that contains a practical set of recommendations to address the problem of children going missing from care. The report will be launched in June.

By Ruby Peacock, Policy and Parliamentary Assistant


By Ruby Peacock - Policy team

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