Looked after children and music

  • by Anonymous (not verified)

    Wednesday, 16 September, 2015 - 16:02

Looked after children often face some of the most challenging circumstances of any children's lives. And at the same time, they are often seen as 'other' - perhaps as difficult children. But of course, looked after children are individuals living their life within a unique context and with individual strengths and challenges, as all children are.

This resource pack on Looked after children and music is about sharing practice in supporting music making for looked after children: looking at how you can knock down walls and barriers that children face or adults perceive, and signposting and sharing some of the experience and expertise that have been developed in what can sometimes be challenging work. Click on the dots to find more information and to access the other parts in this resource pack.

Waypointwaypoint/who-are-looked-after-childrenWho are looked after children?25.5317.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/what-does-term-looked-after-children-meanWhat does the term 'looked after children' mean?25.5361.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/looked-after-children-england-statisticsLooked after children in England: statistics25.5486.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/looked-after-children-england-challenges-some-faceLooked after children in England: the challenges some face26.5441.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/people-and-roles-life-looked-after-childPeople and roles in the life of the looked after child26.5400.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/benefits-music-looked-after-childrenBenefits of music for looked after children589.5315.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/doing-music-looked-after-children-practical-guideDoing music with looked after children: a practical guide590.5379.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/social-pedagogySocial pedagogy591.5442.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/attachment-theoryAttachment theory591.5481.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/partnership-workingPartnership working593.5518.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/staffing-and-cpdStaffing and CPD593.5558.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/why-do-music-looked-after-childrenWhy do music with looked after children?829.0349.2""#0000002

Looked after children often face some of the most challenging circumstances of any children's lives. And at the same time, they are often seen as 'other' - perhaps as difficult children. But of course, looked after children are individuals living their life within a unique context and with individual strengths and challenges, as all children are.

This resource pack on Looked after children and music is about sharing practice in supporting music making for looked after children: looking at how you can knock down walls and barriers that children face or adults perceive, and signposting and sharing some of the experience and expertise that have been developed in what can sometimes be challenging work. Click on the dots to find more information and to access the other parts in this resource pack.


Click here for a text version of this visualisation

Who are looked after children?

When discussing the position of Looked After Children ‘in general’, it is important to remember that
• every child is an individual living their life within a unique context and with
            individual strengths and challenges. Looked after children are often subject to damaging stereotyping.
• some looked after children lead full and happy lives despite their difficult start
• some don’t http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBO9u9Ak-aA
• but some are high achievers in wideworld terms ( Feeling Supersonic
http://www.anationalvoice.org/news/may09.htm)


The information in the following sections is designed to help you:
• fill some gaps in your knowledge of the context of the work you are intending to do – or may be already doing
• provide more context for the position of looked after children in your local area. Local statistics should be available through your local authority's Children's Services (or Education) statistical section or that of the wider local authority (often Chief Executive's department)
• if you are a manager of a music organisation, to demonstrate awareness of that context to potential partners in Children's Services.

What does the term 'looked after children' mean?

The term ‘looked after children’ was introduced by the Children Act 1989 and refers to children and young people under the age of 18 who are under the care of a local authority, either as a result of a voluntary agreement with their parents or as a result of a court order, including those who are temporarily classed as looked after on a planned basis for short breaks or respite care. The term 'children in care' is also common, 'care experienced' less so.

Looked after children in England: statistics

Number of looked after children rising.

Detail: 65,520 children 0-18 were looked after in England as at March 31st 2011, a 2% increase on 2010 and highest number for 24 years. In part the impact of Baby Peter tragedy with children’s services under increased pressure to safeguard and avoid risk.

http://www.education.gov.uk/researchandstatistics/statistics/statistics-by-topic/childrenandfamilies/lookedafterchildren/a00196857/children-looked-after-by-las-in-england

Few children taken into care because of socially unacceptable behaviour

62%  are in care because of abuse and neglect. Only 2% for socially unacceptable behaviour. 11% because of ‘family dysfunction’; 9% due to ‘absent parenting’; another 9% because they come from a ‘family in acute distress’; 4% because of a ‘parent’s illness or disability’; and 4% because of the ‘child’s disability’.

Looked after children’s educational attainment a continuing cause for concern

StageMeasureEducational attainmentInterpretation
Aged 11 Key Stage 2Level 4 or above43% (Their peers: 75%)Improving from 37% in 2007
Aged 16 GCSE5 GCSEs A*-C13.9% (Their peers 58.6%)Improving in itself but gap with the rest widening considerably since 2007
Aged 18+Higher Education7% of 18 year old LAC compared with
40% of ‘the rest’
 

 27% of those who were eligible for full-time schooling had a statement of special educational needs, compared to 2.7% of all other children.

Physical and mental health of looked after children

45% have been found to have a diagnosable mental health disorder, compared to 10% of the general population of children and young people

Looked after children are four times more likely than their peers to smoke, use alcohol and misuse drugs


Disproportionately more boys than girls in care

57% were male and 43% female ( National average approximately 50:50)

21% were aged 16 years and over, 41% were 10-15 years old, 17% were 5-9 years old, 16% 1-4, and 5% were under the age of one (2011)

2680 were unaccompanied asylum seeking children, 89% of whom were male and 25% of whom were under the age of 16. (2011)

The majority of looked after children (77%) were White (compared to 83% of total population), 9% were of Mixed ethnic origin (1.85% of total population), 7% were Black or Black British (compared with 2.94% of total population), and 3% were of Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Indian origin, 2%from another Asia background (compared with 6.11% in total population) and 2% from another ethnic group (compared with 2%).

One third of looked after children are in care for less than a year

45,000(approximately) had on March 31st  2011 been looked after continuously for 12 months on that date i.e. about 33% of looked after children at any one stage are in short-term care

Care leavers at substantial risk

  • 35% of care leavers have experienced homelessness ;
  • The proportion of care leavers not in education, employment or training was 33 per cent in 2011 compared with 17% among their peers. The number and gap is increasing in 2012
  • 8.7% had been convicted or were subject to a final warning or reprimand during the year, compared to 3.5% of all children . 23% of adult prisoners have been in care  Care leavers are often denied the ‘transition’ period that many young adults enjoy, as they progress to adulthood earlier, and without the level of support that non-care leavers have access to. This vital preparation stage, which often takes place during further and higher education, provides a “time for freedom, exploration, reflection, risk taking and identity search” which care-leavers are unable to benefit from 

8,750 new foster families will be required by struggling Fostering services across the UK in 2012

The great majority of children looked after in 2011, 74 per cent, were in a foster placement.

There are 59.000 children living with 45,000 foster families on any one day across the UK – up from 49,700 in 2011. The increase may reflect steep rises ion the total number of children taken into care following the Baby Peter child protection furore in 2008.

The average age of foster carers is increasing, according to the Fostering Network, from 46 in 2000 to 53 in 2009.

All foster carers receive an allowance to cover costs and around half also get paid for their time, skills and experience

You don’t have to be married or have a partner to be a foster carer - a third of foster carers are single

Looked after children in England: the challenges some face

Looked after children face challenges to do with the reason why they are in care and their experiences since entering the care system. These include:

  • being physically, emotionally or sexually abused by their parents or carers;
  • being separated from their siblings;
  • experiencing family bereavement;
  • having drug or alcohol-related birth defects;
  • having a lack of knowledge and understanding about why they were in care;
  • instability in terms of moving regularly within the care system;
  • uncertainty about their future;
  • a lack of control over how decisions are made about their lives;
  • having learning or physical disabilities - where this is the reason they are in care these can be particularly severe.
  • being ‘avoided’ or ‘feared’ by young people not in the care system; and
  • adults judging them according to negative stereotypes of children in care conveyed through the media.

These experiences are reported to have impacted detrimentally on young people’s social, physical and emotional well-being. Effects include: a lack of confidence in themselves and others; difficulties with trusting others; loneliness; abandonment; guilt; disempowerment; confusion; anger; and disengagement. In the context of the Youth Music evidence review, these are identified as presenting a barrier to children in care accessing ‘mainstream’ music-making opportunities, potentially leading to difficulties in their engaging with projects, and causing some to withdraw from elements or the whole of a project.

“This is the key to thinking about children in public care- they are so not the authors of their fate but they live out that story. It’s a tragic story, there aren’t that many happy endings in that story…. They have that curious blend of having some adult experiences within a child’s body, which should never have happened, but they have a child’s responses to a world that doesn’t reflect their biological growth”
(programme director).

“Children in care can be both resilient and fragile in equal measure” (project lead).

People and roles in the life of the looked after child

Music practitioners are often amazed at the number of different people (family and professional) who have central roles in the life of each looked after child. Practitioners need to be aware of this as

  • it may explain a child’s behaviour towards the adults in their life
  • it can complicate the process and add to the time taken to get permissions for engagement in activity, photographs etc.

http://network.youthmusic.org.uk/resources/visualisations/who-looks-after-looked-after-children-people-and-roles-lives-looked-after-c

Why do music with looked after children?

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