Letter: Children in care

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Letter: Children in care

Sir: The Utting report (19 November) raises the question of how children in care can be enabled to communicate distress to the outside world and be heard. Our research into this matter gives strong support for the employment of independent visitors to act as advocates for all children who are looked after away from home, whether in foster or residential care.

For a variety of reasons, welfare professionals do not always hold the needs of individual children in mind, and the children we have interviewed place a high value on adults who, like a solicitor, take down their instructions and carry them out, without interpretation or manipulation. The Government should give each looked-after child access to an independent advocate as a matter of right.

STEVE FARNFIELD

Lecturer in Social Work

Reading University

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