Out of the 12 million children living in England, around 80,000 are living in care. This number continues to rise yearly due to several factors including the cost of living crisis.
There are currently approximately 680 children in care and care leavers (also referred to as care-experienced young people) in the borough of Barnet. This figure changes as young people move in and out of care.
A looked-after child is a young person taken into local authority care for multiple reasons, but mainly due to abuse, neglect, family breakdown or illness. When a child turns 18 they become what is known as a care leaver although the council resumes responsibility until they reach 25.
Many children in care have a positive experience and thrive in their new environment. Yet, overall care experienced young people tend to have poorer life chances and outcomes than other children living with their birth families.
Many will have experienced trauma and adverse childhood experiences before they went into care. Care leavers often live alone and lack the support networks which other young people take for granted. Living on their own also makes them financially vulnerable and at risk of increased levels of anxiety and isolation. They are also more susceptible to being groomed by gangs and sexual exploitation.
Care-experienced young people are four times more likely to have a mental disorder than children living with their birth families
25% of the adult prison population are care experienced despite less than 1% entering the care system
50% of under 21-year-olds in contact with the criminal justice system have spent time in care
Approx ¼ of the homeless population are care-experienced
Girls are 2.5 times more likely to become pregnant compared with other teenagers
17% of care-experienced young people gain 5 GCSEs compared with the national average of 60%
7% of care leavers go on to university compared with 50% of the wider population
Early intervention is key to a care-experienced young person, as it helps them with their feelings of security and forming healthy, positive relationships as they grow.