4 ways we're supporting children and young people in care

Photo of Kelly Corcoran outside
Kelly Corcoran - Digital Communications Officer
Monday 12 February 2024
iStock child in care

1 in 50 children spend some time in care in their lifetimes. Find out how we're helping these children have safe and happy childhoods.

There are over 108,000 children in care across the UK today. And even more children and families rely on wider social care services – such as the support of social workers and family support services. 

So, what are we doing to help children in care?

1. We work with 40,000 children in care and care-experienced young people every year

Every year around 30,000 children enter care and 30,000 leave care. We provide a range of support to 40,000 of these children and young people each year.

  • We support at least 2,000 children in care through our direct targeted services. This ranges from fostering and children’s homes to youth housing support and independent visitors and advocacy.
  • At least 20,000 more are provided with support at our children’s centres, family hubs, and youth support.

This year, we hope to support more children as we open new children’s homes, family hubs, and other services that reach children in care and children with care experience.


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2. We have 45 children’s homes across the UK

Children go into the care system for lots of reasons. Most commonly it’s because they’re abused or neglected. 5% are unaccompanied migrant children. Some children are victims of domestic abuse or have parents with mental health issues.

We have approximately 118 places for children in our family-style homes. And for all those we support, we know this setting best meets the needs of each child.

One of these places is home to 15-year-old Rhys. Rhys has been in care since he was 10 years old, and it hasn’t been easy. He's moved through eight placements before arriving at our children’s home in Tan y Bryn. Life has changed a lot for Rhys since joining us two years ago – now he’s thriving.


3. We’ve partnered with the John Lewis Partnership to support children in care

We’ve launched a year-long partnership with the John Lewis Partnership to support their commitment to young people across the UK who are in care and have care experience. We’ll use this partnership to grow our expert services to:

  • Support young people to build confidence and skills to thrive in education, training, and the workplace.
  • Bolster our support for care leavers transitioning from being in care to independent living.

4. We're campaigning for change

The children’s social care system faces huge challenges. We see this every day in areas such as:

  • Early help:
    Each year, 60,000 children are referred to social care who were referred to social care the year before but weren’t offered any support. Children and families don’t get help soon enough.
  • Quality of care:
    Too many children don’t get the safe and happy home they deserve. Instead, they’re placed far away from home, have unstable placements, or are placed in accommodation that’s badly run or unsuitable.
  • Support for children and families when children leave care:
    When children and young people leave care, the support they rely on is often withdrawn. Because of this, care experienced young people are less likely to go onto further education, more likely to be unemployed, and more likely to interact with the criminal justice system.

We’re calling the government to prioritise children. They need to invest in fixing the care system to prevent more children from needing to enter care. And improve the outcomes for children in, and leaving the care system.

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