Mark Whitehead 01 June 2018

Commissioner’s report on children in care ‘disappointing’, say council chiefs

Local government leaders have branded a report warning of the dangers of children being shifted around the care system as 'disappointing'.

Richard Watts, chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) children and young people board, said the report by the Children’s Commissioner failed to recognise the funding pressures and demand for children’s services facing councils.

The Children's Commissioner for England's annual report on children in care said thousands of 'pinball kids' are being shifted around the system and between schools, putting them at risk of being excluded, groomed and recruited into gangs.

It said more than 3,000 children had to move home at least four times in the past two years and about 2,500 moved five or more times over three years.

The commissioner Anne Longfield said: 'Every day I hear from “pinball kids” who are being pinged around the care system when all they really want is to be settled and to get on with normal life.'

Cllr Watts called for national workforce strategy to address the shortage of children’s social workers and a recruitment campaign for foster carers.

He said: 'Clearly there is more that can be done to make sure that every child has the positive experience of care that the majority receive, and we will ensure that these findings are shared widely with councils across the country, while supporting local areas to learn from good practice elsewhere.

'But there is also a role for government to play, in supporting councils to provide the best possible experience for children in care, and it is disappointing the report makes little mention of this or recognises the funding pressures and demand facing council children’s services.'

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