Consultation in to offending rates among children in care welcomed

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The Fostering Network welcomes the news that an independent review is to be established to examine the number of children in care in England in Wales who end up in the criminal justice system.

The UK’s leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network welcomes the appointment of Lord Laming to lead the review, as well as the focus on placement stability and how authorities handle behaviour. However, they also call on the review to be wary of stigmatising children and young people in care.

Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network said: “A review in to why children in care are more likely than others to be caught up in the criminal justice system is welcome, as is the appointment of Lord Laming, who has the relevant experience, to lead the review.

“We are fearlessly ambitious for children and young people in care. It’s wrong that as society we have accepted that young people in care are perceived to already have a troubled future mapped out for them. We believe the care system can work to benefit the vast majority of children who have a journey through it, and would caution against the stigmatisation of children in care, the vast majority of whom not only don’t get in to trouble but in fact are ambitious and outstanding young men and women.

“Almost all children in care are from backgrounds of deprivation, abuse and neglect often resulting in emotional, social and behavioural difficulties, including behaviour which can get them in trouble with the police. Despite this, most of these young people do not end up in the criminal justice system. When foster care works well, foster carers, and the team that works with them, are able to provide the stability, love and hope for the future required to ensure that these young people are able to flourish.

“We welcome the focus by the review on placement moves. A survey conducted recently by The Fostering Network found that two in five (40%) fostered teenagers are already living with their third foster family since coming into care. Being moved from home to home can have a hugely detrimental effect on children’s education, wellbeing and ability to make and maintain relationships.”