Evidence sought for children’s homes inquiry

The Education Committee is calling for written evidence from anyone with experience of working in children’s homes, young people who live or who have lived in a children’s home and academic and policy experts.

The call for evidence is part of the Education Committee’s inquiry into children’s homes, as part of its continuing work examining the issues faced by left-behind groups.

The inquiry is examining issues around attainment and employment outcomes for young people in children’s homes, as well as the support available and regulation of the sector. It is part of the Committee’s continuing work examining the issues faced by left-behind groups.

Just 7% of looked-after children achieve a good pass in GCSE English and Maths compared with 40% of non-looked after children, while in the longer-term, around a quarter of both homeless people and those in prison are care-leavers.

Looked-after children are four times more likely to have a special educational need (SEN) than other children. Children aged 16-17 living in children’s homes are 15 times more likely to be criminalised than their peers of the same age.

Robert Halfon MP, chair of the Education Committee, said: ‘With many children in care struggling to achieve good basic qualifications and leavers more likely to end up in prison or on the streets, those in the care system are falling behind every step of the way.

‘As part of the Committee’s unerring focus on supporting disadvantaged groups, this inquiry will get to the bottom of why children and young people living in children’s homes are facing such an uphill struggle to get on in life.

‘There is also worrying evidence of the consequences of a lack of oversight in some homes. The most basic of rights for a child must be to have somewhere safe to live, where they are not at risk of abuse or preyed on by gangs.

‘We will be examining whether more needs to be done to protect young people in unregulated provision.

‘Children coming into care will already have had a traumatic start to their lives. We therefore owe it to them to ensure that their homes are safe and secure and that they are given every helping hand to access the ladder of opportunity and succeed in education and beyond.’

The Committee is inviting written submissions addressing any or all of the following areas:

  • Educational outcomes for children and young people in children’s homes, including attainment and progression to education, employment and training destinations
  • The quality of, and access to, support for children and young people in children’s homes, including support for those with special education needs, and the support available at transition points
  • The use and appropriateness of unregulated provision
  • Rates of criminalisation of children in children’s homes
  • The sufficiency of places in children’s homes, and the regional locations of homes
  • The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the extent to which this might increase the numbers of children’s homes places needed
  • The support available for kinship carers, and for children in homes to maintain relationships with their birth families

The deadline for submissions is April 23.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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