A review has been launched to find new ways to end the 'depressing route from care to custody' experienced by vulnerable teenagers.
Led by Lord Laming, a review team of policymakers and practitioners – including social workers and police officers – will investigate why those who have been in care are over-represented in the criminal justice system.
A survey of 15-18 year olds in young offender institutions found a third of boys and 61% of girls had spent time in local authority care.
The review is calling for evidence from social workers, youth offending team managers, police and local authority leads, as well as those who have experienced care and been in custody.
Lord Laming said: 'It is a huge step for the state to assume the parenting of a child or young person. With that comes the responsibility to provide stability, security and hope for the future.
'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.'
Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: 'There is a depressing route from care to custody which can, and must, be stopped. 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.'
The closing date for written evidence is August 4. Further details are available at www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/carereview.