Looked after children talking to ChildLine
ChildLine Casenotes is a series of reports based on analysis of calls to ChildLine, a free confidential helpline for children and young people in the UK provided by the NSPCC.
Looked after children talking to ChildLine (PDF, 292KB)
draws directly on the views and experiences of children who contacted ChildLine between April 2009 and March 2010, providing a unique insight into the lives and feelings of children in care.
- ChildLine counselled 3,196 children and young people in 2009/10 about problems related to being looked after, equating to one in 26 of all looked after children in the UK (see notes 1 and 2).
- Looked after children counselled by ChildLine were five times more likely to discuss running away compared to children counselled by ChildLine overall. Looked after children were also twice as likely to discuss self-harm.
- Relationships with residential and foster carers were fraught with tension. Many young people counselled by ChildLine felt uncared for and at times they found it hard to accept the love and care they were given.
- Looked after children counselled by ChildLine described the deeply unsettling nature of frequently moving placements, making it hard for them to build trusting relationships.
- Looked after children often contacted ChildLine because they felt they had no other trusted adults they could turn to. Many of the looked after children told ChildLine they felt completely alone.
1.Throughout this report, we use the terms 'children in care' and 'looked after children' to include all children being looked after by a local authority. This includes children: in residential and foster care; in young offender institutions, prisons and secure units; and accommodated in hostels by local authorities.
2. As at 31 March 2009, there were 83,356 looked after children in the UK (DCSF, 2009; DHSSPS NI, 2010; StatsWales, 2010; The Scottish Government, 2010).
See also our related reading and resources on looked after children
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