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Children given ‘no notice’ for care moves

Children in care often get moved from placement to placement without adequate notice, without choice and without their siblings, the Children’s Care Monitor reveals. Ofsted will use this evidence to monitor the level of care provided and take advice to improve the service.

Published today, the report includes experiences from 1,870 children from 168 different social care services acrossEngland. The online survey found that 55% of children were only given a week’s notice or less before they were last moved to live in a different placement. 23% were given no notice at all, and were informed on the day of the move.

There is a high level of separation of siblings in the care system, with 73% in different placements to their brothers or sisters. This is higher in children’s homes than in foster homes, with 96% of the former group separated from their siblings.

The number of different placements each child moves to has risen from an average of four in 2010 to five in 2011. For 57% of the children surveyed, they had no choice in their placement.

Ofsted’s children’s rights director Roger Morgan welcomed figures that showed 89% of children in care rated their overall care as good or very good, but highlighted the lack of choice and notice for moving as areas for improvement.

He said: “Moving homes can sometimes create a great deal of disruption so it is worrying that so many children are reporting that they were given little or no notice before moving placements. It is also worrying to learn there was little choice of placements in which to move. The continued high rate of separation of siblings in different placements in care remains a major concern to children.”

Matthew Coffey, national director for learning and skills said: “Roger Morgan and his team work tirelessly to collect the views of children and young people, in turn this helps Ofsted better understand some of the issues faced by both children in care and care leavers.

“29% of the care leavers taking part in this survey, were not in education, employment or training. It is worrying that the percentage of care leavers in work or training has been steadily falling from 17% in 2009, to 15% in 2010 and down again to 12% in 2011.

“Of those about to leave care, it is equally concerning that the percentage saying they receive help in finding work fell from 60% last year to 52% this year. It is important for Ofsted to work with the sector to highlight these findings and ensure that the most vulnerable individuals are given the best possible opportunities to achieve their ambitions in life, work and learning.”

To view the report, visit

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