The care system supports and protects some of our most vulnerable children and young people, the majority of whom enter care as a result of abuse or neglect. Thanks to dedicated carers and professionals working with children there have been significant improvements to our care system in recent years. However, the changes that have been proposed within the Children and Families Bill come at a time when there is an ever increasing demand on our care system.
In recent years, the length of care proceedings has increased, with potentially negative consequences for children and families. In order to reduce timescales and improve outcomes for children, the Family Justice Review final report stated that changes will be needed to the ways in which local authorities and the judiciary operate and work together.
Evidence shows that looked after children are likely to have more insecure and disorganised patterns of attachment. This may stem from their experiences before entering the looked after system, or from their experience within the care system, such as the upheaval of multiple placements. Delays to decision-making can have an adverse effect on children as secure, positive attachments are essential for their healthy emotional development and the way in which they form relationships in later life. Poor attachment increases the likelihood that a child or young person will have low self-esteem; be at risk of psychosocial malfunctioning; be identified as bullies by their peers; be hostile and aggressive; be vulnerable to further abuse as they seek closeness in inappropriate relationships; and may deal with their anger through self-harm, criminal offending or risk taking behaviour.