Vulnerable children failed by cash-strapped councils

Owl says: children – not adults, children. How low we have sunk. But no doubt still even further to sink.

“A “silent crisis” in the care system has left more than 13,000 children with unacceptable levels of support from local authorities, an analysis warns.

Tens of thousands more are being looked after by English councils that are deemed to be in need of improvement, with warnings that a £3bn shortfall in the budget for children’s services will emerge by 2025. Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, said the findings cast “a stark spotlight on the inadequacies of systems that are meant to be in place to support our most vulnerable children”.

Vulnerable children are on the new frontline of a crisis in social care
The analysis by the Social Market Foundation thinktank examined the treatment of “looked-after children”, who have been taken into care. It found that over the past three years, about 47,000 of the children were with local authorities deemed by Ofsted inspectors to have inadequate children’s services or services that require improvement. The figure represents almost two-thirds of all children in care. There were 13,790 in inadequate authorities.

Local councils insisted that those deemed to need improvement in some way should not be seen as failing. However, only 36% of local authorities were classed as “good” and only 2% were rated as “outstanding”.

The study warns that children in care have educational outcomes that are way below average and are significantly over-represented in the criminal justice system. Only 14% achieved five A*-C GCSEs, including maths and English, in 2015. The national average is 55%. Looked-after children are five times more likely to be excluded from school, while 39% of children in secure training centres had been in care. …”