Just half of children in care trust courts to make the right decisions about their lives, according to new research.
The work, produced by the Office of the Children’s Rights Director, found support for more care decisions being made by social workers instead of the courts. Its findings will be fed into the government’s Family Justice Review.
Children on Family Justice, see file at right, found children’s main concerns about going to court were that decisions made about their future may be wrong, that strangers would hear about their private lives, and that they may not be able to give the “right” answers to important questions.
Its findings were compiled from a survey of 58 children and interviews with 67 more young people.
Of the survey results, 29 said they thought courts never made the right decisions or did not usually do so.
Asked who they thought the right people to make choices about their future were, 46 answered “professionals who work with children”.
Children’s Rights Director Roger Morgan said the survey’s findings were a vital way for children in care to air their views.
“Children have provided suggestions where the courts could improve,” he said.
“However, what stands out most through talking with children is their view that they should always have a say about decisions about their lives.
“It is worrying that the experience of many children was that they had not known, or felt they had a say in, what was happening to them.
“To meet the children’s concerns, more needs to be done to talk directly with children, make sure they understand what is going on, and take their views into account.
“This would help to lessen the anxiety children experience when major decisions are made about their lives.”