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Children being failed by the care system

A recent parliamentary inquiry report by two All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) has called for an independent investigation into children's homes in England, claiming that the system of residential care is 'not fit for purpose' for children who go missing.

There are 65,520 children in local authority care in England. Children’s homes are often seen by social workers and other professionals as a 'last resort' from troubled young people with several placements behind them. Children in children’s homes are generally older, vulnerable and have more complex needs.

The two APPGs joined forces to launch an inquiry – supported by The Children’s Society and The Who Cares? Trust - into the care and support provided for the thousands of children who run away or go missing from care every year.

The main recommendations of the report include:

  • An independent investigation into children’s homes in England, which are failing to manage and protect children who run away or go missing. This is despite spending £1 billion a year on just under 5,000 children cared for in children’s homes, averaging £200,000 a child.
  • A 'scorecard' should be introduced to measure a local authority’s performance in protecting vulnerable children who go missing from care.
  • Urgent action on 'out of borough placements', where children are sent to live hundreds of miles from home. Half of all children in children’s homes live outside their own local authority, despite evidence that this is often a major factor in causing them to run away. One local authority placed every single child in its care outside its boundary.

 

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