Children in foster care feel safe where they live – Ofsted survey

Ofsted has today published results of a survey asking children, learners, parents, foster carers, social workers and other professionals about their experiences of children’s social care

Most children in foster care always feel safe, according to an Ofsted survey.

There were 45,655 responses, including 6,614 from children, to the survey.

Almost all of the children in foster care (99%) who responded said they always feel safe where they live and are more likely to always feel safe compared to children in other types of care.

Responses were similarly positive among children living in children’s homes, with 95% saying they felt safe where they lived ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’.

Read the ‘Children’s social care questionnaires 2023’.

One child in foster care wrote:

"My carers are great, this is my first stay away from home and I was very scared, but they made me feel welcome and part of their family. I still get to see my own family, as well, and my carers have explained everything to me as we go along. I really struggled going to sleep at first, but my carers were really good with me, sitting at the end of my bed for hours till I fell asleep."

When asked for their general views, children often spoke about their overall enthusiasm for the place they lived or stayed, describing it as being brilliant or similar. Many children staying in group care or living in foster care said that they would like to stay where they are until they were 18 or forever.

Most children in group care reported that they got along with other children and adults where they lived or stayed, although more said they got on with adults compared with those who said that they got on with other children.

One child living in a children’s home wrote:

"I really like where I live because the staff, the manager and the area manager, all of them support me a lot of the time. The staff make me dinner and I really like it because they all are good cooks. The children are really supporting as well including the adults."

However, 12% of children in boarding schools and 9% of children staying in further education (FE) colleges said that they got on with the adults where they live ‘sometimes’ or ‘never’.

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman said:

"I would like to thank everyone who responded to our annual survey. These surveys give us an opportunity to hear first-hand from people working across children’s social care and from children and young people about their experiences.

"All children deserve to feel happy and safe where they live, so I was particularly pleased to see so many positive experiences."