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The Children of Looked After Children

26 Mar 2021

A new book by Dr Louise Roberts, The Children of Looked After Children: Outcomes, Experiences and Ensuring Meaningful Support to Young Parents In and Leaving Care, was released in March 2021.

The book brings together the findings of a five-year Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE) research study that was funded by Health and Care Research Wales.

The idea for the study came from Voices from Care Cymru (VfCC), an independent organisation, dedicated to upholding the rights and promoting welfare of care-experienced children and young people. The book provides some much-needed evidence about children born to young parents in and leaving care and explores the support available when young people become parents.

Listening to parents’ views and experiences was a key priority of the study. The study included parents with different experiences; some were new parents, others were looking back on their experiences, some felt they had people to support them, others felt isolated and alone, some were living with their children, while others were separated from them. An advisory group of parents supported the study. Work is on-going and parents are currently developing a good practice charter based on the book’s recommendations. To mark the release of the book, we asked the group what they thought about the book and who they hoped would read it:

The book is important, I think it will shock people. Not many people know what it’s like for parents who have grown up in care. It can be so hard to get help. The numbers of children that get taken is shocking. Parents should definitely have more help.
The stigma is shocking. I think I’m like any other parent but I still have that label. I’ve lost count of the times professionals have said ‘because you were in care we need to think about this …’, ‘because you were in care we need to do this…’. I hope this book will help people understand the stigma we face and see how unfair it is.
Everyone who works with children and parents should read it! Social workers, personal advisors, managers, advocates, Welsh Government people, teachers, judges, midwives… everyone. We hope students will read it too as they can help change things for the future.
I really hope parents will read it. The book is good because you get to hear about other parents’ experiences. It can feel like you are the only person going through this and you are on your own. It really helped me when I knew this is a bigger problem. You feel less like a failure and less like a victim. By sharing experiences you realise that you can support each other and help change things. This group came about as part of the research. It would be great if the book helped make this group bigger or started new groups so parents knew they weren’t on their own.
It’s great that the book is free. Everyone likes free stuff and hopefully that will mean more people will read it.

Dr Louise Roberts

To download your free copy visit: https://library.oapen.org/handle/20.500.12657/47513

To find out more about the parents’ support group, please contact Voices from Care Cymru: https://vfcc.org.uk/