Looked after children in custody
A review was announced this week by the Prison Reform Trust into why so many children from the care system end up in custody. Fewer than 1% of children and young people are in the care of local authorities, but a third of boys and 61% of girls in custody either are in care or have been.
Lord Laming who will lead the review said “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.”
A worthy outcome of this review would be that more practical and therapeutic care be offered to children and their carers in the looked after system. It is a bit surprising that we need a review to determine this; however, most Foster Carers and Social Workers would recognise this need.
It seems so unfair on these young people most of whom have been abused and or neglected as children to punish them again. The first ‘punishment’ is to have to live with the effects early trauma so severe that current health and local authority resources cannot help them to overcome. When they take their distress out into the community they end up being punished again, this time in the legal system.
Maybe ‘staying out of trouble’ is better achieved by a redesign of services. So these young people are offered help not more punishment. If this review can help remedy this situation it is very welcome.
Brenda McLackland Associate Clinical Psychologist