System failing children in care

The care system is failing on a “catastrophic” scale, according to a report today.

The study for the Centre for Policy Studies, the right-wing think-tank, says the state “makes a rotten parent” because looked-after children are 10 times more likely to be excluded from school and a high proportion of the care system’s “graduates” are “prostitutes, drug addicts, homeless and criminals”.

However, report author Harriet Sergeant said a successful care system would “transform” the country because it would cut the prison population and reduce homelessness.

She also claimed the care system “dictates that the earlier a young person fails, the sooner they cease to be a cost to their local authority”.

The report comes as the government prepares its green paper on looked-after children, which is expected to be published on 9 October.

Centrepoint, the UK’s leading youth homelessness charity, welcomed the report. Balbir Chatrik, Director of Policy, says: “Many young care leavers we support tell us that before coming to Centrepoint they felt unprepared for the transition to adult life and had no help with practical life skills, advice on employment, training and benefits.  We know that the support care leavers receive is patchy.  Some local authorities recognise the issue and work with organisations like us to help provide accommodation and support, others are sadly lacking in their duty of care.  Good quality housing and support for young people when they leave care is vital if these young people are to build sustainable futures and fulfil their potential.”

Centrepoint is currently conducting research looking at best practice in minimum standards of housing and support which will be published in November.

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