Austin Macauley 30 March 2016

Report: Teenagers criminalised due to children’s homes failures

Report: Teenagers criminalised due to children’s homes failures image

Children’s homes too often resort to involving police rather than offering teenagers in their care the support they need, according to a new report.

The Howard League for Penal Reform found 13 to 15 year olds living in children’s homes were 20 times more likely to be criminalised than a non looked-after child and six times more likely than a child in other forms of care placement.

The charity said its research showed there was a ‘systemic problem’ that had made police involvement the default option.

Its report highlighted official statistics that show around 4% of children aged 10 to 12 who live in children’s homes have been criminalised. That figure rises to more than 19% among children aged 13 to 15.

Some three-quarters of England’s 1,760 children’s homes are run by private sector companies. It warned ‘a lack of transparency, particularly in relation to private providers, has meant that homes are unaccountable, bad practices are hidden and children suffer’.

The Howard League contacted every police force in England and Wales to gather data on how often they were called out to incidents at children’s homes. West Mercia Police and West Midlands Police each recorded almost 6,000 incidents between 2012 and 2015.

The report said police believed they were ‘picking up the pieces of a “social care deficit”, and that children were being pushed into the criminal justice process rather than receiving the support they needed from local authorities and children’s homes’.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: ‘These children have been taken into care because they are in dire need and their parents cannot, or will not, look after them.

‘They are wonderful young people who have had a really bad start in life. They deserve every chance to flourish.

‘Private companies, charities and local authorities that are paid a fortune by the taxpayer should give these children what they need and deserve.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

SEN Caseworker Officer

North Yorkshire County Council
£29,636 - £32,029 per annum pro rata
The ideal candidate will have experience of working with children and young people with SEND or additional needs in children’s services including... Scarborough, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Speech and Language Therapist - Personalised Learning Pathways

North Yorkshire County Council
£32,029 - £34,788 per annum pro rata
This is an exciting opportunity to be part of the PLP programme which supports young people (16-25) to develop and progress through... North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Senior Social Workers x3 - FS&P - Basildon

Essex County Council
£39164 - £47404 per annum + + Free Parking & Excellent Package
We are looking for an experienced, motivated and creative social worker to join our team. England, Essex, Basildon
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Deputy Chief Executive & s.151 Officer

Wychavon District Council
package to £90k
This is an exceptional career development opportunity, and the perfect role for a talented public service leader with ambition. Worcestershire
Recuriter: Wychavon District Council

Senior Practitioner - Family Support & Protection

Essex County Council
Up to £237 per day + Umbrella
Managing a defined caseload, the social worker is responsible for working effectively with children, young people and families/carers to achieve positive change and improved outcomes. England, Essex, Basildon
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue