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Keeping children safe: allegations concerning the abuse or neglect of children in care

Final report

For most looked after children and young people, foster and residential care provides a safe environment. This study has focused on the minority of children who do not always receive safe care and who, in some instances, experience abuse or neglect at the hands of those responsible for ensuring their wellbeing. Despite long-standing concerns about historic abuse in children’s homes and about the implications of allegations for foster carers and their families, very little is known about the extent of these allegations. We know even less about the proportion of allegations that are substantiated, the nature of the abuse and neglect experienced by some children in care settings and the characteristics of the adults and children involved.The aim of this study was to investigate these important questions. It provides new UK evidence on:

  • the number of allegations against foster carers and residential social workers and the proportion of these that are substantiated
  • the extent and nature of confirmed abuse and neglect in foster and residential care
  • the characteristics of the children and adults concerned.