Aug 2015 - BASW Response to Prison Reform Trust Consultation: Keeping Children in care out of trouble: An Independent Review

About the review
This independent review, chaired by Lord Laming and established by the Prison Reform Trust, was launched on 23 June 2015 to consider why looked after children are more likely than other children in England and Wales to get involved with the criminal justice system, and what can be done to help more children in care stay out of trouble.  Read more about the launch here.

The review team is formed from a broad cross-section of senior policy makers and practitioners, including social workers, police, magistrates, academics and other experts.  It will be informed by a consultation group of children and young people who have been in care and been in trouble with the law.  For more information about the review and a list of its members, download this briefing.

Background
Most children with experience of care do not get into trouble with the law.  However, children and young people who are, or have been, in care are over five times more likely than other children to get involved in the criminal justice system.  In a 2013 survey of 15-18 year olds in young offender institutions, a third of boys and 61% of girls said they had spent time in care.  This is despite fewer than 1% of all children in England being in care.  For nearly two-thirds of looked after children, the main reason they are in care is because they have suffered abuse or neglect.  

The question therefore arises, why are children who are, or have been, in care more likely to get into trouble with the law?  The review wants to hear about your experiences, and your views on what could change this and thereby transform the life chances of children and young people in care.

How to respond

The review wants to hear from those who have experience of local authority care and the criminal justice system, including children and young people, their families and carers, social workers, youth offending team managers, police and local authority leads, and others who work with children in care and children in the criminal justice system.  

You can submit your views and evidence using this response form.  If you are not using the response form, please consider the following guidance.

The main questions the review wants to address are:

  1. How does the experience of being in care affect the likelihood of offending?
  2. Which features of the care system increase or reduce the chances that a child or young person will offend?
  3. Which features of the youth justice system* increase or reduce the chances that a child or young person with experience of care will get involved in the criminal justice system and/or reoffend?  
  4. Are there parts of the youth justice system* that have an unfair impact on children and young people with experience of care?
  5. Which features of other services, such as education, health and housing, increase or reduce the chances that a child or young person with experience of care will offend?
  6. What can be done to help children with experience of care to avoid getting involved in the criminal justice system, and who should do it?
  7. What are the barriers to reform and how might these be overcome in an environment of limited resources?

* The term ‘youth justice system’ is intended to mean the law, policy and practice relating to the treatment of children and young people by the police, youth offending teams, courts, secure children’s homes, secure training centres and young offender institutions.

Please include your name, organisation (where relevant) and contact details in your response.  Please also indicate whether you are happy for your evidence to be published.  Evidence submitted by individuals, including children and young people, will only be included in the report in anonymised form.

Separate guidance for children and young people who want to respond to the review can be downloaded here.  A response form for children and young people can be downloaded here.

Please send us your evidence by 5.00pm on Tuesday 4 August 2015.

By email: carereview@prisonreformtrust.org.uk

By post: Care review, C/o Prison Reform Trust, 15 Northburgh Street, London EC1V 0JR

For more information, contact Katy Swaine Williams, Care review co-ordinator, on 020 7251 5070.

Published : 5th August 2015*

Publisher : British Association of Social Workers  [ More From This Publisher ]

Rights : British Association of Social Workers

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* Although BASW has prepared the information contained within Social Work Knowledge with all due care and updates the information regularly, BASW does not warrant or represent that the information is free from errors or omission. Whilst the information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. The information may change without notice and BASW is not in any way liable for the accuracy of any information printed and stored or in any way interpreted and used by a user.