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New ‘Young Lives in Lockdown’ research shows increase in loneliness and anxiety among children in care and care leavers

21st May 2020

New NYAS report, ‘Young lives in lockdown’, was published today revealing how care-experienced children and young people are feeling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report is based on findings from our survey, which reached 230 care-experienced children and young people across 55 local authorities in England and Wales.

Our survey found that over half of care-experienced children and young people are feeling lonelier and more anxious than they were before the pandemic. One young person told us “I live in a bedsit in a hostel, my room is small, and it is hard being in all day”. These feelings appear to be common, with four in five care leavers telling us that they felt lonely more often and were feeling more anxious during the lockdown, as well as half of children still in care.

Many of the care-experienced children and young people who responded are having less contact with their social workers and personal advisers during lockdown. For every care leaver who was having more contact, four were having less. During these times of uncertainty, one in ten children in care said they had not heard from their social worker at all.

These findings come at a time when NYAS professionals and volunteers have made more than triple the number of safeguarding referrals compared with the same period last year.

Rita Waters, NYAS Chief Executive, said “The lockdown has been challenging for us all, but especially difficult for many of the care-experienced children and young people we work with. They are feeling lonely, anxious and that their lives are on hold. We are particularly concerned about what we’ve heard from care leavers and those living independently or semi independently, and commit to supporting them wherever possible through the NYAS ‘Side by Side’ programme of care leavers support. No young person should have to face this lockdown alone.”

Our full report, ‘Young lives in lockdown’, can be read here.

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