Young runaways review to measure impact of children’s services reforms

Local authorities and other agencies are to be quizzed in the New Year on the impact of Every Child Matters reforms on society’s most vulnerable children.

Children’s charity the Children’s Society has announced plans to travel around the country talking to councils, police forces and charities between January 8 and 19 about services for young runaways. It is also conducting a national survey.

But policy adviser Martin Houghton-Brown said the findings would have implications for other groups of children living with similar high risk factors.

“Young runaways are a group that has been hard to reach in the past,” he said. “The Every Child Matters reforms were designed to meet that need – so we want to know if they have met it.

“But this is an opportunity to look at how the reforms are affecting services for all vulnerable children. We will be talking to local authorities and others about how they feel the reforms are helping them.”

Houghton-Brown said that early indications were that services for young runaways were working best in areas where new Local Safeguarding Children Boards were taking the lead, and that lessons from the consultation were therefore likely to encompass the wider safeguarding agenda.

The consultation findings will inform national discussions with the Department for Education and Skills about targeted youth support reforms and policy and practice around safeguarding, with recommendations for all sectors expected in May 2007.

Contact the author: Lauren Revans


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