Yesterday a report about children in care was published. The report reflects the findings of HM Inspectorate of Probation, Ofsted and Estyn.
Findings indicated that children in care who are placed away from their home area and who have also offended are ill-equipped to lead productive and law-abiding lives.
The report focused on the work of youth offending teams and inspectors found the following:
- although YOT staff worked hard to develop good relationships with these children and young people to deliver constructive interventions, many failed to appreciate fully the emotional impact of being looked after and in residential care;
- it was often difficult to see from the assessments why many were placed away from their home locality;
- being in care often meant that young people were brought into the criminal justice system at an earlier point than those who were not looked after;
- the aspirations that many workers, across all services, had for looked after children were often woefully low;
- the lives of looked after children were fragmented and links with family and friends were often disrupted, as were education and training opportunities; and
- information-sharing between children’s services and youth offending teams needed to improve.
The inspectors say that exact numbers do not exist for the number of children and young people who are in care outside their home area and under the supervision of a local youth offending team. However, it is estimated that there are between 1000 and 3000 children who are among the most damaged in the care system. The inspectors also found that two-thirds of children were living more than 50 miles away from home, and a quarter more than 100 miles away. This is despite regulations that they should be placed as near to their home as possible.