Government has been too “timid” over children in care

April 20, 2009 at 2:45 pm Leave a comment

An in-depth examination by a committee of MPs into children in care has made a range of recommendations.

The Children, Schools and Families Committee’s Report on Looked-after Children examined relationships between social workers and looked-after children, children’s services and families, children and their carer and local authority accountability.

Looked-after children “must have a higher profile in NHS performance frameworks,” and “corporate parenting training should be mandatory for relevant senior NHS officers and board members,” the committee said.

It said the Government has been too “timid in specifying what looked-after children should be able to expect,” from the NHS, local councils and other bodies.

The committee also noted the wide disparities in the numbers of children in care in different local authorities.

It called for greater help for children when they leave care:

“The duty to provide a Personal Adviser should be extended to all care leavers until age 25, not just those who have education or training plans.

“The terms on which this provision has been extended risk excluding some of the most vulnerable young people from continuing support.

“The role of the Personal Adviser should include facilitating access to health and social care services when needed.

“We recommend that the Government explore ways of ensuring that care leavers have full and proper access to health, social care and education services, commensurate with their needs, until they are 25 years old.”

The Chairman of the Committee, Barry Sheerman MP, said:

“It is imperative that the Government tackles the perception that entering the care system is catastrophic for a child’s future prospects.

“It must be seen as a positive experience, but this will only happen if the state can better replicate the warm, secure care of good parents for every child in the system.”

Read the full report here.

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Entry filed under: Committees. Tags: , , , , , , .

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