Number of children in care hits a 20-year high
The number of looked-after children in Northern Ireland has reached a 20-year high, with some in the care system for more than a decade, according to the Human Rights Commission.
In March last year, 249 children had been looked after for more than 10 years, and 547 children had been looked after for between five and 10 years.
Youngsters are also being moved too quickly between foster places because of financial pressures and there are delays in adoption, the body added.
Of the looked-after children who moved in the year 2012/13, more than a fifth had between one to three placement switches.
The body pointed out that despite recognising adoption legislation was out of date in 2006, authorities have not reformed it.
Interviewed young people also expressed a lack of decision-making in their care, coupled with a lack of consistency in residential care settings.
Chief commissioner Les Allamby said: "Our aim is for improvements to be made without delay as it is essential our laws protect children's human rights at every step in the care system."