The purpose of the child in care is to provide high-quality care that will positively influence child development. Today, the system looks after over 30,000 children. Unfortunately, the thousands of children who are supposed to benefit from the program end up passed around like parcels. About 12,000 of these kids end up at least 20 miles away from friends and family. Some reports suggest that at least 2,000 of these children are placed in housing systems more than 100 miles away from the places they once called home.
The Intended Purpose Of Children In Care
Before we get into the intended purpose of the child in care program, it is essential first to find out what it is. Children in the care of their local authorities for more than 24 hours are referred to as looked after children. A looked after child is sometimes called a child in care, which most of these children prefer. A child in care receives support until they’re at least 21 years. The primary purpose is to provide a safe home for and upbringing for the children.
Why Many Children In Care Are Moved Away From Places They Call Home
According to most government reports, the main reason children in care end up so far away from the places they call home is to help make safety and suitability a priority. Plus, movement is only considered a “last resort.” Why do so many children in care end up moving from their homes then? Official reports suggest at least a 13% increase in the number of children housed outside their local authority within four years.
The Impact – Lack Of Stability
Children in care come from various backgrounds, with each child having a unique set of needs beyond clothing and shelter. According to expert reports, most children that enter the local authority care system already have previous experience of trauma and abuse from their previous parents or guardians. And the system designed to help give these children more stable homes only ends up moving them too often from one home to another.
Unfortunately, the constant movement creates a lack of permanence that can disrupt the child’s emotional growth in care.
The Impact On Mental Health
As mentioned previously, most children in care already have previous experiences with abuse. Many of them also carry the extra burden of grief, disability, or severe health issues. Being moved from one home to another or living too far from the places they used to call home can be a very unsettling experience for most kids. Plus, there is always the stigma attached to being a looked-after child that these kids have to deal with in the UK.
This lack of stability and stigma can affect the mental health of children in care. And some research even suggests more children in care have mental health problems than others their age. Unfortunately, the mental health needs of these kids seem to be the least taken care of under this system.