Duncan Lewis

Family Law

know matters can be both

highly sensitive and confusing

A report by two influential committees of MPs has concluded that the care system in England was not fit for purpose’ and was systematically failing to protect the most vulnerable children.

Date: (18 June 2012)    |    

Total Comments: (0)    |    Add Comments

The report said that similar cases of grooming which happened in the Rochdale, Lancashire, were happening all over the country.
The report stated that the pedophiles most often had more knowledge about the children care homes in their areas than the police because of data protection and human rights rules.
Unwillingness by different agencies to share even the most basic information, such as the addresses of care homes, was making it almost impossible for police to keep track of or step in to protect children most at risk of abuse, they warn.
Meanwhile it was also found that there was shocking failure by councils, regulators and the homes themselves who failed to even record the number of children who were found missing from care.
The report says that those who do go missing are written off as children who are troublesome and promiscuous. They are also branded as slag’s who should know better the whistleblowers told the inquiry.
Those children who go missing from care are being systematically failed as they are being put in great danger, by the very systems and professionals who were suppose to protect them, they concluded.
The all party parliamentary groups for runaway and missing children and adults and for looked after children and care leavers held a joint inquiry into the prevalence of children going missing from care.
There was found to be a huge data gap in the care system which was now dominated by small privately run homes many housing only one or two particularly troublesome children costing up to £250,000 per child.
Yet because of confidentiality arrangements based on data protection and human rights rules, councils and the local police are often not aware of the existence of these homes.
Because they operate on such a small scale, planning permission is not needed to convert a domestic house into a children’s home - meaning that councils do not know a home is opening up in their area.
And although they are all regulated by Oftsed, details about the homes are closely guarded. Ofsted does not share names and addresses of homes with police and although it has special arrangement to share the addresses with councils, many local authorities have never made use of the system, the inquiry heard.
The MPs have stated that barriers, which stop the police from being informed of the names and addresses of children’s homes in their areas, must be overcome.
Another major cause of worry the MPs highlighted was the tendency of councils to put children in homes far away from their roots, making them potentially more likely to run away and harder for social workers to keep track on. Often these decisions were taken by council bureaucrats rather than social workers.
The inquiry has revealed the widespread concern that the system which was in place at the moment fell dramatically short of what was needed to protect some of society’s most vulnerable children the MPs opined.