Should more children really be in care?
A thought-provoking article from the BBC this morning, provocatively headlined 'more children should be in care'.
The artictle reports on the findings of a committee of MPs examining child protection in England, who have recommended that 'more children at risk should be put into care'. They warned that too often the benefit of the doubt was given to neglectful parents who then failed to improve.
The report, from the House of Commons Education Select Committee, warned that too many children were being left in circumstances of "long-term, chronic neglect", and - as the headline makes clear - suggests that more children should be taken into care.
However, the report then goes on to raise serious concerns about the state of the care system, especially for older children, warning that inadequate care and leaving care too soon 'could leave them vulnerable to the predatory behaviour of adults'
"Care for older children is not good enough. They are let down too often, frequently ignored or not listened to, can be pushed out of care too young and insufficiently prepared and supported. This has to change," said committee chairman Graham Stuart.
It echoes the experience of Venture Trust's Inspiring Young Futures programme, which is specially designed to support young people aged 16-19 through the transition out fo the care system and into independent adulthood.
While better-off families might expect to continue providing support for children into their twenties and beyond - the cross-party group of MPs argued that the most vulnerable children, such as those leaving care homes, often had the least support. For children who are the most damaged, parenting ends much earlier.
Venture Trust's experience - of supporting young people leaving care higglights that many are working to overcome issues such as low confidence, lack of aspiration, and missing positive adult realationships.
As such, before we suggest putting more children through the care system, we must first ensure the system works.
Venture Trust - and a group of our particicpant with experience of being in care - is working with the BIG Lottery's Life Changes Trust, to help shape the future of services for young people in care.