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The well-being of children in the UK$
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Jonathan Bradshaw

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781447325628

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447325628.001.0001

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Children and young people in care and leaving care

Children and young people in care and leaving care

(p.231) Nine Children and young people in care and leaving care
The well-being of children in the UK

Gwyther Rees

Mike Stein

Policy Press

The number of children in the UK looked after in public care has increased over the last five years. There has also been a decrease in the average age of children looked after. This is an area where there are substantial difference and divergence in systems and statistics across the four UK countries. Looked-after children have much higher than average levels of mental health problems; are more likely to have been convicted of an offence; and have substantially lower levels of educational attainment than their peers. However these should not be viewed as ‘outcomes’ of being looked after as these issues will also have been influenced by children’s experiences before becoming looked after. There is evidence of improved educational attainment and health care and reductions in offending and substance use among looked-after children over the last five years. Young people leaving care are at substantially higher risk of not being in education, training or employment; of experiencing homelessness and of having mental health problems as adults. International comparisons are difficult for this topic because of the different nature of public care systems in different countries.

Keywords:   foster care, residential care, adoption, special guardianship, leaving care

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