Dani Harmer presents The Real Tracy Beaker

Last updated at 14:55
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The real Tracy Beaker

Dani Harmer, who plays Tracy Beaker in the hit CBBC series, presents a Newsround special where she finds out what it's really like to grow up in care.

She speaks to children about their real-life experiences and finds out how their lives have changed.

What is living in care?

When people decide it's better for children to be away from their parents for a while, it's known as living in care.

There are about 70,000 children living in care in the UK - that might sound like a lot but it's actually less than 1% of all the kids in the country.

The average age of a child in care is 10-years-old.

Most children in care are fostered, which means they live with another family for a while.

Sometimes they stay there for just a weekend, other times they can stay for years.

Others live in children's homes, which is a bit like living in a big house with lots of other kids - like Tracy Beaker living at the Dumping Ground - only staff look after you instead of parents.

Why do children live in care?

Children are put into care for lots of different reasons.

Sometimes it's because their parents can't look after them properly and others decide it's better for their children to live somewhere else.

It can also happen if a child's parent isn't well, has to go into hospital or dies.

Others have parents who just can't cope. And some have parents who neglect or abuse them.

Do kids in care ever go back to their parents?

In most cases, children are only meant to live in care as a temporary measure.

Over half of all kids in care end up returning home in less a year.

Although for some staying in care is the best option. Only about one in 25 children stay in care for 10 years or more.

What problems do children living in care face?

Children living in care can often be moved around a lot, which means they may have to move schools frequently.

Being the new kid in class can be tough, and one in six children in care say they are bullied.

And more than half of children in care leave school with no qualifications.

Also, there aren't enough foster carers in the UK and that means some children are placed with families that are either too far away or too different from their own.