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Perceptions of Care

From the minute that children enter care, they are considered different. They don’t live with their parents, they are cared for by professionals, and they have a new legal status. They are living in a situation that is not the societal norm.

We – Become and Voices from Care - didn’t presuppose that children in care and care leavers thought that there was a stigma associated with being in care, but we did want to find out how acutely children in care and care leavers feel that difference, and how it impacts on their lives. We wanted to find out what those children feel about other people knowing about their different home life and experiences, and what they thought people thought about children who grow up in the care system.

This report is part of the 5 Nations, 1 Voice project, funded by The Big Lottery Fund.  Nations, 1 Voice is a project between five charities across the UK and Ireland, that are working together to connect and support young people to influence policy and effect change. Become, the charity for children in care and young care leavers in England, and Voices from Care, Wales’ national independent organisation dedicated to upholding the rights and welfare of children and young people who are or have been looked after, chose to work together to produce this work – recognising the similarities across both our countries.

We asked children in care and care leavers in England and Wales to complete an online survey and we commissioned Leeds Beckett University to run seven focus groups across England and Wales. Forty-nine children in care and 61 care leavers completed our online survey, and 60 children in care and care leavers attended the focus groups – to whom we are grateful for giving up their time to share their views.

The report is themed around the main points that were raised in the focus groups and gives the voices, thoughts, and opinions of care-experienced young people. It is supported by statistics from the online survey.