Looked After Children and Young People

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Looked-after children and young people

Looked-after children and young people

Early interventions that focus on preventing adverse behaviours such as offending behaviour, substance misuse, smoking, obesity, and bullying are key to improving children and young people's health and wellbeing in the future. Evidence suggests that activities and interventions that positively promote health and wellbeing – such as diet, exercise, emotional health and forming friendships, are the most engaging and successful. Such interventions are delivered to varying degrees in schools and universal settings with all children, but often, looked-after children and young people miss out on sessions or do not benefit from the consistent approach to these issues from a school, due to their frequent moves during care or the periods of school absence they experienced prior to coming into the care system.
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Factors associated with outcomes for looked-after children and young people: a correlates review of the literature.

Factors associated with outcomes for looked-after children and young people: a correlates review of the literature.

The UK Government report ‘Every Child Matters: Change for Children’ sets out the national framework for local change pro- grammes to build services around the needs of children and young people to maximize opportunity and minimize risk (Department for Education and Skills 2004). The Government’s aim is for every child, whatever their background or their cir- cumstances, to have the support they need to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and to achieve economic well-being. The Department of Education has published regulations and guidance to improve the quality and consistency of care planning, placement and case review for looked-after children and to improve the care and support pro- vided to care leavers. The full set of regulations and guidance will come into force on 1 April 2011 (Department for Education and Skills 2010). Some key factors identified in this review can be associated with a number of the outcomes from ‘Every Child Matters: Change for Children’ (Department for Education and Skills 2004). For example, ‘number of placements’ has been associated with adult employment, good health/mental well- being, risk of offending, covering the ‘being healthy’, ‘staying safe’, ‘making a positive contribution’ and ‘achieving economic well-being’ outcomes from ‘Every Child Matters: Change for
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Supporting Looked After Children and Young People at School: A Scottish Case Study

Supporting Looked After Children and Young People at School: A Scottish Case Study

Glasgow Project Report Supporting Looked After Children and Young People at School: A Scottish Case Study Graham Connelly, Lindsay Siebelt & Judith Furnivall March 2008.[r]

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The effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving access to health and mental health services for looked after children and young people: a systematic review

The effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving access to health and mental health services for looked after children and young people: a systematic review

The present review has highlighted several gaps in the evidence examining the effectiveness of access to services for this small but vulnerable population of children and young people in general. There is an overall dearth of any evaluative evidence about the effectiveness of particular interventions aimed at improving access to such services where they exist. Of particular concern is the absence of any systematic research on availability or improvements to access to services for LACYP from ethnic minorities (including travelling communities), who are gay or lesbian, unaccompanied young asylum seekers with looked after status or LACYP with disabilities or complex needs, all of whom have additional, particular needs in addition to being looked after by the local authority. Indeed, unaccompanied young asylum seekers may be a particularly important subpopulation of LACYP as evidence indicates they have particular, additional difficulty in accessing universal and specialist health services and education (Fiddy 2003). Furthermore, the evidence reviewed did not examine whether different types of placement (local authority carers, private fostering agency carers, residential homes) have a differential impact on access, nor have any long-term studies been undertaken.
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Caring for rights : social work and advocacy with looked after
children and young people

Caring for rights : social work and advocacy with looked after children and young people

Studies about children and young people’s participation find overwhelmingly that young people do not feel they are enabled to participate in decisions. Morrow’s (1999) research with schoolchildren looked at their general attitudes to rights and participation. She found that children saw themselves as excluded from the range of rights that adults enjoy, particularly as they got older and that they tended to frame this in language such as 'the desire to "have a say" in decisions that affect them' (Morrow, op cit.: 167) rather than in the jargon of participation. Evidence from studies of young people who are involved with social services suggests that they also feel excluded despite the legal requirements to involve them. A study of child protection assessments, for example, found that children’s participation was minimal and that their voices were silenced (Holland, 2001). Studies of young people in public care have found that they were often omitted from important meetings about their care and were not consulted about their views (Thomas, 2000; Boylan and Ing, 2005). Even when they were present they found it difficult to contribute because often they had not been adequately prepared. Morris (1998) found that young disabled people were consulted even less about their care, and workers in social services tended not to even record their opinions or wishes.
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The positive educational experiences of ‘looked after’ children and young people

The positive educational experiences of ‘looked after’ children and young people

Many young people within this literature review are reported as highlighting the negative stereotypes others have about children in care. For example, Martin and Jackson (2002) and McClung and Gayle (2010) report that around a third of their samples felt they had been treated differently at school because of negative stereotypes. Interestingly McClung and Gayle noted that nearly all of the children in their sample who reported these concerns were living in residential care settings and attending mainstream schools. This suggests that perceptions of teaching staff may depend on the placement setting of the looked-after child. Harker et al. (2004) report only two of their sample of 56 young people in care felt they had suffered from teachers’ negative stereotypes, although the setting and duration of the care placements of these young people are not made clear. Young people in the Harker et al., (2003) study specifically highlight the stereotypes of peers, assumed that children were placed in care because of behavioural issues. Young people interviewed by Martin and Jackson (2002) and Harker et al. (2003) made suggestions that this stereotyping could be addressed through ensuring that teachers were aware of the unfairness of these assumptions, and training teachers to better understand the difficulties faced by children in care.
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These Are Our Bairns. a guide for community planning partnerships on being a good corporate parent. looked after children & young people:

These Are Our Bairns. a guide for community planning partnerships on being a good corporate parent. looked after children & young people:

Looked After children and young people are not a homogenous group with the same backgrounds or needs. They are individual children and young people with their own personalities, needs and experiences. The only thing they have in common is that life has not been easy for them, and for most some aspect of their life circumstances has led to a children’s hearing or a court deciding that some form of compulsory intervention is required. A small number become Looked After away from home through a voluntary agreement between their parent(s) and the local authority. When children and young people become Looked After, it is essential that there is robust and flexible planning for their future from the outset. Stability is crucial to children’s development and happiness, and the system should support stability through minimising moves and seeking permanent solutions wherever possible. Most young people leaving care do not become “care leavers” – that is, they return to their birth families or find other permanent solutions before they reach their statutory school leaving age. Ensuring that their transition from care is as smooth and sustainable as possible should be an underpinning theme to care planning and decision-making.
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Scotland’s National Human Rights Action Plan : Getting it Right for Looked after Children, Young People and Care Leavers

Scotland’s National Human Rights Action Plan : Getting it Right for Looked after Children, Young People and Care Leavers

There are specific challenges for looked after children and young people accessing CAMHS. A recent report on the Mental Health Care Needs Assessment of Looked after children in residential special schools, care homes and secure care was commissioned due to concerns about the health needs, and more specifically mental health care needs, of children in these placements. 10 The Scottish Directors of Public Health had raised a specific concern about this group of children’s access to CAMHS. The report concluded that the picture was complex where ‘children may not receive timely care because of the lack of clarity about which Health Board is responsible for their health care’. The report found looked after and accommodated children may be four times higher than the general population to need a specialist intervention, such as psychotherapy (Lachlan et al., 2011:40). The report concluded there is a need for specialist CAMHS for children who are looked after and accommodated. A key challenge that is not identified in the strategy is the delivery of services to successfully facilitate the transition between CAMHS and adult mental health services. Across research studies, these transitions have been identified as a particularly challenging time for young people, parents and carers.
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The Health of Looked after Children and Young People : a Summary of the Literature

The Health of Looked after Children and Young People : a Summary of the Literature

This recent legislation is intended to help mitigate issues that looked after children face in their communities, and to provide opportunities in terms of, for example, access to play, music, leisure activities, sport, health, education and employment. Mooney et al. (2009) identify that, in the promotion of good health, looked after children and young people need access to positive activities, alongside educational opportunities, security and stability. Equally, Statham and Close (2010:6) indicate that there is a degree of consensus emerging regarding children and young people’s wellbeing ‘and most include domains which relate to their physical, psychological and social wellbeing in one form or another. They also incorporate, to varying degrees, measures of socio-economic and environmental wellbeing such as educational attainment, economic and material resources, housing and the local environment, quality of school life and access to leisure activities’. This suggests that the influence of their peer group and local cultural values and beliefs can impact on a child’s wellbeing.
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of Scotland s looked after children & young people.

of Scotland s looked after children & young people.

The Scottish Executive has consistently pledged its commitment to working in partnership with local authorities, health boards, voluntary organisations and all other relevant individuals and agencies who have a contribution to make to improving outcomes for all looked after children; both those who are looked after at home and those who are looked after and accommodated. The problems are deep rooted and difficult, but not impossible to deal with. The Executive’s commitment to crack the challenges is greater than ever. We have already shown commitment in real terms by making available additional targeted resources of £16 million to support work in this area. This has yet to show results. Much more needs to be done to ensure that all looked after children and young people can access the same opportunities as their peers and are supported to develop to their full potential. Scotland needs all of its young people to succeed and we need to be ambitious and aspirational for each and every one of them.
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The educational attainment of looked after children and young people

The educational attainment of looked after children and young people

2.22 Within local authorities, responsibility for achieving improved outcomes for looked after children is dispersed across departments with the associated risk that this group of vulnerable children may fall between service priorities. This risk may be magnified where agencies have relatively small numbers of looked after children and care leavers. We reviewed local authorities’ current strategic plans and found that these often made no reference to achieving improved outcomes for their looked after children, either in education or social care. Education priorities tended to focus on improving the attainment of all pupils and, where pupils with additional learning needs are reported, strategic plans tended to prioritise other groups, for example children with disabilities. Social care priorities for children generally tended to focus on safeguarding issues and containing the costs of the rising numbers children in care. There has been little evidence of focus on care leavers in the priorities of post-16 education, employment, or youth justice. For example, the Welsh Government’s strategy for reducing the numbers of young people who are not in education, employment and training, Skills That Work for Wales 51 , makes no specific
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Overseen but Often Overlooked : Children and Young People 'Looked after at Home' in Scotland - Report 3 : Exploring Service Provision

Overseen but Often Overlooked : Children and Young People 'Looked after at Home' in Scotland - Report 3 : Exploring Service Provision

 Thirdly, location and service availability. A different ‘set’ of services is available to children and young people on home supervision in different areas. Very few services we identified were delivered across Scotland; instead, most services provided support to specific populations, for example, those linked to a setting such as a school or college or those linked to a locality such as a local authority or health board. These locality-based services are not necessarily replicated in other areas and where there is an equivalent, these may be set up or delivered differently. These factors in combination mean that children and young people looked after at home may have access to very few services; this is summarised in Figure 3. First, they are unlikely to know about many of the services that could be beneficial. Second, they may not be keen to use them. Third, they may not know if they are eligible, understand how to access them or have the confidence to do so. Fourth, they may discover that they are ineligible. Finally they may face practical or financial issues that make it difficult to maintain contact with the service.
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Overseen but Often Overlooked : Children and Young People 'Looked after at Home' in Scotland - Report 2 : Identifying Needs and Outcomes

Overseen but Often Overlooked : Children and Young People 'Looked after at Home' in Scotland - Report 2 : Identifying Needs and Outcomes

The research was exploratory in nature, aiming to uncover new information about this under- researched group. In particular, the research investigates three areas. The first, to determine in what way outcomes for children and young people looked after at home or previously at home differed from their peers. This was mainly addressed through a systematic review of the literature, the findings of which are presented in Report 1. A second aim was to discover whether there were any unique factors experienced by this group of children and young people which may contribute to the overall profile of outcomes. The final aim of the research was to investigate emerging models of practice to support children and young people who are, or have been, looked after at home. These two latter aims were explored through primary research, utilising the methods outlined below.
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Overseen but Often Overlooked : Children and Young People 'Looked after at Home' in Scotland - Report 1: Reviewing the Literature

Overseen but Often Overlooked : Children and Young People 'Looked after at Home' in Scotland - Report 1: Reviewing the Literature

Despite their multiple difficulties, the evidence suggests that there is a systematic tendency to minimise the difficulties of this group. Their needs often go partly or fully unaddressed and these children can be actively or passively excluded from services which might otherwise be beneficial. Children on home supervision fare worse in regard to contact and support from a social worker, and having an up-to-date care plan and reviews. Practice is variable, with some children receiving a better service than others. This can depend on factors unlinked to their needs, such as the availability of resources. There is also evidence that partner agencies do not work together effectively to address poor outcomes for these children and that little effort is made to address or compensate for their earlier experiences or for ongoing difficult home circumstances. Children and young people looked after at home have poorer educational outcomes than other groups, including those looked after away from home. Children and young people on home supervision often are not properly engaged in decision-making, do not understand the purpose of supervision and may
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No Time to Lose : a Manifesto for Children and Young People Looked After Away From Home

No Time to Lose : a Manifesto for Children and Young People Looked After Away From Home

but an urgent call to action for these longstanding issues. The manifesto proposes that the debate be energised by develop- ment of a National Strategy for children and young people who are looked after away from home. And indeed, a comprehensive and well-resourced approach must surely be the way forward. Of things new – some of them benefit from being teased out to show their personal impact. One of the principles the manifesto says should underpin our services is that, “Children and young people should be able to access support from previous carers and from services for as long as they need to when they move on from care.” This relates partly to the well known issues about institutional support for young people leaving care; but there are also examples of foster carers being told to turn away from their doors young people leaving care who may have spent a number NO TIME TO LOSE: A MANIFESTO FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE LOOKED AFTER AWAY FROM HOME / 1
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Overseen but Often Overlooked : Children and Young People 'Looked after at Home' in Scotland - Annex 3a : The Service Studies

Overseen but Often Overlooked : Children and Young People 'Looked after at Home' in Scotland - Annex 3a : The Service Studies

Referrals are made to the LAC nurse through social work, allowing for the health needs of LAAH young people to be assessed at the outset of the Order so that suitable arrangements can be put in place. More recently the LAC nurses have been co-located in social work offices in order to facilitate communication between professionals. This shift has allowed a greater number of looked after young people to be referred to the LAC nurse. In particular it was felt that co-location has allowed looked after at home children and young people to access health and wellbeing services at a far earlier stage and in a way that addresses the needs of the young person and family. The local authority LAAH policy stipulates an aim that the health assessment should be completed within six weeks of the young person being placed on an Order (unless there is another up-to-date health review available). The health assessment offered is holistic, attending to height, weight, immunisations, mental health, social needs, eye tests, dental health and any specialist health needs.
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NICE/SCIE GUIDANCE LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

NICE/SCIE GUIDANCE LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

community) which works with looked-after children. In addition is director of an organisation, Placement Support, which provides consultancy to organisations (residential homes and agencies) as well as individual carers. Also, provides supervision to colleagues working as consultants to organisations.

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Looked-After Children and Literacy

Looked-After Children and Literacy

The importance of interest and choice in motivating reading for pleasure has been noted in various studies (see Clark and Phythian-Sense, 2008). It has also been noted by projects working directly with looked-after children. In Edinburgh, a “Reading Champion” took a young person to the bookshop so that she could choose stock for the residential home. “The process of finding the right book for her really improved her confidence” (Colm Linnane quoted in City of Edinburgh Council, 2010). The importance of empowering looked-after children to make choices has also been recognised in policy over the past decade, where the need to appreciate the individuality of looked-after children and young people and the need to focus on helping them achieve their individual potential has been emphasised (C4EO, 2010a).
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Supporting Families : a Review of the Implementation of Part 12 : Children at Risk of Becoming Looked After as Set Out in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

Supporting Families : a Review of the Implementation of Part 12 : Children at Risk of Becoming Looked After as Set Out in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

This was not the picture across all local authorities. However, it is worth recognising that investment into Family group decision-making services and support for parenting in some local authority areas had a very specific reference to reducing costs for local authorities and being part of a ‘culture shift’ in recognising the strengths within families, rather than deficits. There was a perception shared in some focus groups that this combination of factors was leading to change in front line social work practice in some areas. There was a strong view that investment in family support was hugely advantageous for everyone. Many examples demonstrated that, with the right supports in place, children were loved, safe and happy in the care of their parents and there was not a requirement for children to be removed from parental care. It was recognised that for some families, this would be long term support as children grow and develop and this was particularly pertinent for working alongside parents with learning disabilities.
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Being counted? Examining the prevalence of looked-after disabled children and young people across the UK

Being counted? Examining the prevalence of looked-after disabled children and young people across the UK

All four nations rely on extrapolating data from multiple datasets to provide a snapshot of looked after disabled children. Across nations we have variation of between 3% and 14% of looked after children recorded as disabled in official statistics. Northern Ireland and Scotland provide the most comprehensive datasets for looked after children with annual returns including types of disability. In contrast, disability is only recorded in England for looked after children if this is the primary reason for state intervention. Therefore, some disabled children will be referred on primary grounds of abuse and neglect and will not be included in these annual returns. Similarly in Wales, disability must be a primary reason for referral to be recorded in the official statistics; therefore, only 25 children were looked after on the primary grounds of disability. As discussed, there are geographical variations in the quality of data-input with reliance on accurate up-to-date case records. As highlighted by Baker (2007), disability can be contested and a lack of agreement over diagnosis is likely to lead to reporting ‘unknown’ or ‘unrecorded’. Particular problems reported by local authorities in recording numbers of looked after disabled children include the interface between definitions of disability and special educational needs; disagreements about levels of severity of certain impairments and the ‘grey area’ between disability and illness (Baker, 2007).
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