Empowering Looked After Children relates to a study undertaken in relation to children’s views about their experience of being looked after and the degree of power they felt they had to influence decision making.
The aim of the study was to gain the views of Looked After children and ascertain the amount of power and influence they had in decision making about them.
The rationale of the study was to establish the reality of current social care practice in line with the rights of children to be included, and participate, in decision making about their lives, wishes and feelings and in line with recent policy changes in the Looked After Children documentation and the Quality Protects Initiative.
Fifteen looked after children were interviewed for the study, male and female, aged between ten and seventeen years of age. The young people interviewed had been in care for at least two years and were identified as meeting the criteria by their social workers ‘so they had substantial experience of being looked after’. It could be argued that just because children are older when they are in the care systems, they would not necessarily have more experience of being in care than children under the age of ten years of age.
The researcher admits that the method of finding a sample did carry some risk and workers did identify the children, however it can not automatically be assumed that workers chose these children because they felt they would not be overly critical of social care, it has not been considered, or reported how many children were in the care of the Authority at the time of the research and no representative figures were given.
The conclusion of the study acknowledges that the participation of children in decision making and their rights to have their voices heard is one that few social care professionals would contest, however that putting the theory