Coram Voice and National Youth Advocacy Service have published a report on the views of care-experienced children and young people on recommendations set out in the independent review of children’s social care. The report summarises feedback from over 80 children and young people aged 8 to 25 years from 27 local authorities across England. The feedback focused on three key areas of the care review: making care experience a protected characteristic, advocacy and Independent Visitors. Key findings include:
- 60% of young people were in favour of making care experience a protected characteristic.
- Almost 40% of children and young people who responded to the survey felt that they had been treated negatively as a result of being care experienced.
- 31% of children and young people surveyed said they did not know how to get an advocate, though 64% reported needing an advocate to resolve issues with social workers and personal advisers, 53% needed an advocate to help with family contact issues and 47% needed an advocate due to issues with school or education.
- A third of the young people surveyed had not heard of Independent Visitors and almost half didn’t know how to get one.
The report recommends that the government implement the care review’s recommendation for an opt-out model of independent advocacy support, reimagine and redevelop Independent Visitor services with children and young people, set a legal duty for local authorities to actively offer children in care and care leavers an Independent Visitor up to the age of 25 and prioritise consulting widely on care experience as a protected characteristic.