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Lord Laming, convener of the Crossbench Peers in the House of Lords, has planned to lead a review that will investigate into why such a high number of children in care end up in the criminal justice system.
In a recent survey of people aged between 15 and 18 in young offender institutions it was revealed that 61 per cent of girls and one-third of boys said they had spent time in local authority care. Such statistics arose despite fewer than one per cent of all children in England being in care.
What’s more, looked-after children aged between 10 and 17 are more than five times as likely to be convicted or reprimanded than those in the same age group who are not in care.
Lord Laming’s nine-month review, established by the Prison Reform Trust, will attempt to unravel the link between child care and custody.
Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: “We need to listen to children in care about how they got drawn into trouble and hear their views on ways to get out of it.”
Ms Lyon described the route from care to custody as “depressing”, explaining that it must be stopped.
Lord Laming added: “We cannot stand by and allow wasted opportunities to result in wasted later lives.
“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.”
The review team will consist of social workers, police and academics. They are encouraging those with experience of the care system and the criminal justice system – including children, families, carers, social workers and youth offending professionals – to step forward and provide evidence.
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