Lord Laming to review why high proportion of children in care end up in prison

Review looking for the views of social workers and children to understand the "depressing route from care to custody"

Photo: Photofusion/REX

Lord Laming is to lead a major review into why such a high proportion of looked-after children end up in the criminal justice system.

Launched today, the nine-month review was established by the Prison Reform Trust, which warned of the “depressing” route from care to custody.

High numbers

Chaired by the crossbench peer, who previously led the Victoria Climbie inquiry, the review team of social workers, police and academics will try to understand why 61% of 15-18-year-old girls and a third of boys in custody have spent time in care.

Fewer than 1% of all children in England are in care, however looked-after children aged between 10 and 17 are five times as likely to be convicted, or subject to a final warning or reprimand, than other children.

Depressing

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said there is a “depressing route from care to custody” that must be stopped.

“We need to listen to children in care about how they got drawn into trouble and hear their views on ways to get out of it,” she said.

The review team is calling for evidence from all those who have experience of the care system and the criminal justice system. This can include children and young people, families, carers, social workers and youth offending professionals.

‘Wasted later lives’

Lord Laming, who is leading the nine month review, said: “We cannot stand by and allow wasted opportunities to result in wasted later lives. We are determined to ensure this review makes practical recommendations to enable key services to work together to help children in care transform their life chances and stay out of trouble.”

Submissions on the topic can be sent to: carereview@prisonreformtrust.org.uk

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