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Nearly one in four children in care are moved to new placement without any notice

More than half are moved on a week’s notice or less

The newly published Children's care monitor 2011 reveals that 23% of the children in care in the 2011 survey reported that they were given no notice at all of their last move and were told on the same day they were moved. Just over half (55%) said that they were only given a week or less notice before they were last moved to live in a different placement.

Children's Rights Director Roger Morgan has published the annual Children's care monitor which gives nearly 2,000 children's views through an online survey. This year, the monitor survey included a new focus on children's experiences of placement change in care.

As in previous years, the 2011 survey found a high level of separation of siblings in care. Nearly three quarters (73%) of children in care who also had a sibling in care reported that they had been separated in different placements. Children in children's homes were found to be more likely than children in foster homes to be separated from siblings in care. In fact, 96% of children surveyed in children's homes who also had siblings in the care system had been separated from brothers or sisters. Up to the time of the survey, the average number of times children responding had moved placements had risen from 4 in 2010 to 5 in 2011. Well over half (57%) of children in care surveyed said they had no choice of placement the last time they were moved.

Children's Minister, Tim Loughton, told the BBC:

"I am concerned that children in care too often face multiple placement moves, leading to instability and upheaval.

"We must do better and this government is committed to overhauling the care and adoption system to improve life chances for these vulnerable children and young people.

"Protecting them and making sure they get the start in life they deserve must be a top priority for all local authorities but we know there is still too much inconsistency and variation."

In a speech on the 23rd February, the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, announcing an action plan to replace the 'bloated' adoption process, extolled the successes of the care system:

"A study by DEMOS in 2010, commissioned by Barnardo's, showed conclusively that care improves the lives of many vulnerable children and young people.

".... I want social workers to feel empowered to use robust measures with those parents who won't shape up. Including, when an adult is not providing the home a child needs, making sure that child is removed to a place of greater safety."