23/03/2011 13:18 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Children Being Let Down By Care System Says ChildLine

The charity ChildLine says calls to their helpline from children in care has risen by almost a third in five years, and one in 26 of those youngsters called about failings in the care system.

ChildLine's director, Peter Liver, says the findings should prompt all local authorities to ensure 'looked after' children - those in foster care or children's homes - should always have an adult to speak up for them when they need help or assistance.

He said: 'Every day, looked after children talk to us about lives filled with pain and hurt. After the trauma they've been through, children need a special quality of care - at least as good as a good parent can offer.

'Instead, we hear from children who have been beaten or sexually assaulted while in care. Others feel abandoned in care or unloved by their new carers. Some are intimidated by other children. Many have reached crisis point.

'ChildLine highlighted the plight of these children in a report published 16 years ago and some of the same issues persist. These failings go back at least a generation.

'A minority continue to be failed by the care system. When this happens, children need to know there is someone there to speak up for them who is independent from the local authority.'

A survey undertaken in 2009 found there were over 83,000 children in foster, residential or other forms of care.

ChildLine's figure reveal 3,196 looked after children - some as young as five - contacted the helpline between 2009-10 with problems arising from being in care. Many were suffering physical and sexual abuse and neglect.

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