Looked-after children in prison are not receiving the support they are entitled to, according to children’s charity NCB.
The charity was commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills to look at the care planning system for looked-after children in prison, who are estimated to account for 46% of the child prison population.
Although children who have been in care are entitled to ongoing social work support in prison, the new research finds that this is often lacking, resulting in very poor long-term outcomes. In April last year, the high court judge Mr Justice Munby described Caerphilly Council’s plans for a looked-after child in prison as “little more than worthless”.
Di Hart, principal officer at NCB’s children in public care unit, said its study painted a picture of fragmented planning and poor outcomes. “Young people often feel abandoned by the social workers they had come to rely on, and practitioners are confused over their respective responsibilities,” she said.
Hart added that, without the right support, these young people had few postive options and were much more likely to re-offend.
NCB has worked with the Prison Service to produce a good practice guide to help professionals ensure they meet the needs of these children. Prison Service senior policy advisor Jeremy Whittle welcomed the guide, adding that he hoped it would encourage practitioners in their development of “robust and effective joint support plans for young people returning to the community from custody”.
Tell Them Not To Forget About Us from www.ncb.org.uk