Children become looked after when their parents are unable to provide on-going care in either a temporary or permanent capacity. The number of looked after children and young people has increased every year for the last decade – but the number who are looked after as a result of their own offending behaviour is small. Instead, the overwhelming majority are looked after for their own care and protection: o Some have experienced neglect o Some have experienced mental, physical, sexual or emotional abuse. o Some parents are unable to look after their children because of their own substance misuse or poor parenting skills. o Some young people need a bit of time away from their birth family or community while a package of support is put in place to try to rebuild family relationships or their ability to function. o Some have complex disabilities and need to be placed in specialist residential schools. o Some have become involved in the youth justice system.
Last year almost 61,000 children and young people were looked after by local authorities in England. The majority of children and young people enter care after experiencing abuse or neglect or severe family problems. Early experiences have an impact on later health and wellbeing. While some children do well, statistics show that around 60% of looked after children and young people in England experience emotional problems and health problems. It is important that children and young people experience high quality care, not just while they are being looked after but also for some time after they have grown up and moved out.
Children can be placed with family members, friends or foster carers depending on the situation they are in. The majority of young people in care come from families who experience difficulties. They are separated from their family because they are unable to provide the care that is needed. Vulnerable unaccompanied