Increasing numbers of children in care are waiting to be matched with independent visitors, with some councils admitting to not providing the statutory service at all, new research shows. A Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by Barnardo’s revealed that 1,202 looked-after children were missing out on their legal right to be matched with a visitor, which the charity refers to as a “buddy”. This is a rise of 20 per cent since 2015. The investigation found that 10 of the councils that responded said they did not provide the service despite the statutory duty to do so. The request sent to 152 councils in England, all of which responded, found 89 per cent of children matched with an independent visitor were white but the majority (92 per cent) on waiting lists were from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups. Read more.