"These failings go back at least a generation" Christine Mellor, assistant director for ChildLine North West
As the number of kids going into care is growing, so is the proportion of those kids contacting ChildLine, according to its new report.
While explaining that "Most children in care are well looked after by dedicated carers and professionals" Christine Mellor, assistant director for ChildLine North West adds that "Every day, looked after children talk to us about lives filled with pain and hurt. After the trauma they've been through, children need a special quality of care - at least as good as a good parent can offer.
"Instead, we hear from children who have been beaten or sexually assaulted while in care" she says "Others feel abandoned in care or unloved by their new carers. Some are intimidated by other children. Many have reached crisis point. ChildLine highlighted the plight of these children in a report published 16 years ago and some of the same issues persist. These failings go back at least a generation."
ChildLine is now calling on local authorities to ensure fostered and other looked after children always have an adult to speak up for them when they need help. At present, children only have a right to an 'advocate' if they want to make a formal complaint about their care.
Last year, ChildLine received 185 calls from children who were in the care system in Greater Manchester, a proportion of whom were from Salford; while nationally over three thousand calls were received from such children, some as young as five.
A release issued by ChildLine states that "Some children were deeply unsettled and traumatised after being moved several times a year, some as many as 15 times while in care. Others complained of emotionally abusive or uncaring carers and being bullied by other children. Many looked after children had to be counselled about self-harming or running away. They talked about being 'sick of life' and wanting to 'give up and die'.
"Local authorities are looking after more children since the case of Baby Peter Connolly two years ago" it adds "Official figures show that the number of children who were taken into care in England grew from 60,900 in 2009 to 64,400 in 2010. Applications to place children in care remain at unprecedented levels…Over the last five years, the number of 'looked after children' contacting ChildLine has increased by over 30 per cent from 2,415 to 3,196."
ChildLine is the UK's free, 24-hour confidential helpline for children and young people who need to talk. Trained counsellors are there to provide comfort, support and advice about any problem that's on their minds. Contact them 24 hours a day, every day, by phone on 0800 1111 or at www.childLine.org.uk. Calls are free from all existing networks – landline and mobile.