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Looked-after Children

Volume 635: debated on Monday 22 January 2018

8. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on outcomes for looked-after children. (903421)

Like the hon. Gentleman, this Government have high ambitions for looked-after children and care leavers. The forthcoming corporate parenting provisions in the Children and Social Work Act 2017 will ensure high-quality care and support for these vulnerable young people.

I welcome the Minister, my near neighbour, to his new post. When will the Government actually provide adequate funds properly to support these special young people?

The hon. Gentleman will be pleased to know that, shortly, the Government will announce the winning applicants to their social impact bond to provide funding for local authorities to improve outcomes in education, training and employment for care leavers.

I, too, welcome the Minister to his position, and I know that he will be excellent in his role. Does he agree that no child should be taken into care if family support would allow them to stay safely at home? What will he do to provide more support to struggling families to prevent children from being taken into care?

I thank my hon. Friend for her warm words and wholeheartedly agree that, where possible, children are of course looked after best by their own families. That is why the troubled families programme, in which we are investing £1 billion through to 2020, is working with those families to reduce the need for children to go into care. I am delighted to tell her that the results in December show a decrease in the number of children in need in that programme.

14. May I remind the Minister that, whether we are talking about children in care or the elderly in care, the real question that he must answer is what has happened to the fabric of social support and care, which has been driven down by local authority cuts over the past few years? (903427)

This Government are ensuring that local authorities have the resources they need to provide important local services: £200 billion over these five years; a real-terms funding increase over these two years; and £2 billion announced in the last Budget specifically for social care.