ChildrenincareThe statistics above (presented by Ryan Robson this morning) are just two insights into the terrible disadvantages that children in care face:

  • Exam results for children in care are five times worse than for other children. Only 11 per cent gain 5 A*-C GCSEs compared with 56 per cent of all children.
  • Children in care are as much as five times more likely to suffer mental illness than their peers.
  • Nearly a third of children in custody have previously been in care.
  • One third of homeless people have been children in care.
  • Four in ten foster parents think that the care system has deteriorated over the last 10 years.

The Couldn’t Care Less report was launched this morning by the Centre for Social Justice.  The report was the work of a committee chaired by Mr Robson and it documented the scandalous failure of society to improve the care of ‘looked-after children’ – of which there are 60,000 today and another 300,000 children in serious need.  The report makes a wide number of recommendations, including:

  • A right for looked after children to sue failing local authorities;
  • More family fostering schemes;
  • A national parenting education initiative;
  • Specialist residential care for people suffering from addiction;
  • A ‘living wage’ for foster parents in a bid to reduce the shortage;
  • Housing improvement grants for foster carers;
  • Better mental healthcare for looked after children;
  • Increase post-care support services until the age of 25.

These costly initiatives always raise tricky ideological issues for small government conservatives.  These measures may be costly in the short-term but measures like them may be the only way of reducing the long-term demands on the state. The great shame is that they were not enacted by Labour during the last ten years of bounty.  Another generation of children have been failed by the state.

Click here for a full copy of the report and here for the other CSJ report launched this morning, on the importance of the early years.  The image on the right appears in the report (chaired by Samantha Callan).  The image is of a child’s brain where development has been normal and the brain of a child where development has been severely neglected.

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