The Time for Change: Care Matters white paper, which children’s minister Beverley Hughes will launch today, is the biggest piece of government policy affecting England’s looked-after children since the beginning of the decade.
As a white paper, it is a statement of the government’s policy intentions, with legislation expected to follow.
The paper follows on from last October’s Care Matters green paper for looked-after children, which set out ideas for consultation.
In response to the green paper, professionals criticised the exclusion of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children from its provisions. The Home Office has produced a separate set of proposals for this group that have yet to be finalised.
Before the white paper’s publication today, the government announced it would press ahead with controversial plans to create GP-style social care practices to deliver services to looked-after children under contract from councils, despite reservations from some professionals.
Beverley Hughes recently announced the government will pilot the practices, which will be made up of small groups of social workers. The Department for Education and Skills has also said that pilots of the regional commissioning of placements for looked-after children will begin in September.
Looked-after children – key facts
- There are around 60,000 looked-after children in the care system in any one year
- Only 11% of looked-after children attained 5 good GCSEs in 2005 compared with 56% of all children
- Over 30% of care leavers are not in education, employment or training at age 19 compared to 13% of all young people
- Young women aged 15 to 17 who have been in care are 3 times more likely to become teenage mothers than others of their age
- Looked-after children are three times more likely to be cautioned or convicted of an offence than other children
- More than a quarter of adult prisoners have spent time in care
- High rates of turnover among social workers and staff in children’s homes, and a lack of stability in children’s placements means
that many children lack a consistent adult in their lives
Source: Care Matters
September launch for regional commissioning of placements
Beverley Hughes presses ahead with social care practices despite sector’s scepticism
Young people and professionals pessimistic over Care Matters green paper for children in care, consultation says
Unaccompanied child asylum seekers: should they be treated differently?
Victoria Hull, Care Leavers Association, talks to Simeon Brody
Care Matters: analysis of the green paper for children in care
Green paper promises an end to instability for lives of children in care