A recent government investigation has discovered that there are serious weaknesses in England's care system meaning that children are not being adequately protected especially when they are placed in children's homes. Statistics have indicated that 46% of children in care homes are from another town; rising concerns about insufficient levels of accommodation.
The investigation has revealed that many children are placed in authority care far away from their home and then not being given the support they need. There are concerns that this can encourage the youngsters to abscond; leaving them at risk of sexual abuse.
The report also highlights the fact that many older children with complex needs are being placed in inappropriate residential care which is of poor quality.
Many children in the care system are viewed by professionals as troublesome and criminals but the reality is that they are very vulnerable and need increased support to protect them from abuse and exploitation.
These recent findings have been released just a month after reports of the sexual abuse ring in Rochdale where nine men were convicted for sexually exploiting young girls. All of the girls were known to Social Services at some point in their lives and one of them was actually in care at the time the abuse was taking place.
Labour MP Ann Coffey, chairwoman of the all-party parliamentary group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, has stated that there is a scandal in England involving children who go missing from care. The most vulnerable children in society are not being protected and events such as the Rochdale sexual abuse ring have highlighted the fact that gaps in the current system are being exploited by sexual predators.
The recent report has called for a removal of barriers which currently prevent police from having knowledge of the location of children's homes, along with a new system for reporting runaways from care. Concerns also centre around a lack of training of the staff, a reliance on agency workers and poor quality placements. Ofsted has also been criticised in the report for its tick-box approach to the inspection of care homes. Ofsted has stated, "There is no doubt that the system is currently failing some very vulnerable children”.
Children in care need to be given the appropriate care and support from the right people. We are seeing these problems in the news far too often at the moment. If you have been affected by any of the above issues then do not hesitate to contact to us to speak to a specialist solicitor who will advise you on whether you have grounds to make a claim against Social Services or an abuse claim against an individual.
By Jonathan Bridge, Child Abuse Claim Solicitor