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Children in Care: Crime

Volume 482: debated on Tuesday 11 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he has taken to assist local authorities in preventing children in their care becoming involved in crime. (234040)

The vast majority of looked after children do not commit offences. However we recognise that as a group they are more likely to be subject to a final reprimand or warning or convicted of a crime than other children. To support local authorities as responsible corporate parents to do all they can to prevent looked after children becoming involved in crime, we have issued a range of materials. In 2005 the Government funded the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) to produce a handbook for local authorities on reducing offending by looked after children with practical examples setting out how authorities might work with partner agencies to reduce offending by looked after children. We also supported the National Children's Bureau to research and publish “Tell Them Not to Forget About Us”—a guide to practice with looked after children in custody. A copy of this was sent to every director of Children's Services and to every youth offending team manager.

Following our White Paper “Care Matters” and the Children and Young Persons Bill receiving Royal Assent, we will be revising guidance to local authorities which will include information about local authority responsibilities for preventing offending by looked after children and, about their responsibilities for establishing the necessary relationships with youth justice professionals so that, when looked after children do offend, plans are put in place to support the child to prevent re-offending.