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Children: Custody

Volume 690: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they are taking in response to the lessons for practice in the National Children’s Bureau report Tell Them Not to Forget About Us: A Guide to Practice with Looked After Children in Custody. [HL2455]

The department funded the National Children's Bureau to research and produce the publication Tell Them Not to Forget About Us, to develop a model of practice to guide local authority social workers and youth offending teams (YOTs) in working together to meet the needs of children from care who go to prison, to make sure that the two agencies can work together better to improve the support provided to this group of vulnerable young people.

The guide was launched at an invited workshop, organised by the department, involving senior managers from local authorities, the Youth Justice Board and representatives from the voluntary sector. We have ensured that key groups of professionals, such as the independent reviewing officers, have been made aware of the information that it includes about best practice in working to support young people from care who are in custody. A copy of the publication was sent to every director of children's services and every YOT manager.

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What steps they are taking to ensure that information on a child’s care status is consistently recorded and shared between social care and youth justice agencies when a looked-after child is in custody or on remand. [HL2456]

Children who are in the care of the local authority must be provided with a care plan that sets out how the authority proposes to meet the child's assessed needs, while Asset is the standard assessment framework used by all youth offending teams (YOTs) in England and Wales with young people aged 10 to 17 who offend. Asset will include identifying information specific to each child, including information about their care status. It aims to identify key risk factors contributing to a young person’s offending behaviour along with protective factors that might help to reduce the risk of reoffending.

Social workers and YOT workers have shared responsibilities where a looked-after child is also a young person who offends, and information in Asset will include information drawn from the child’s care plan. Where a child enters custody, the YOT worker should ensure that the custodial establishment is aware of the child’s care status, including any entitlement to leaving care services, and their social worker’s contact details. It is important that the custodial establishment receives the child’s care plan alongside the Asset assessment.

Our Green Paper Care Matters was issued in October 2006. This includes proposals for improving the support for young people from care who enter custody

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they are taking to ensure that local authorities discharge their responsibilities to looked-after children who enter custody or remand. [HL2457]

Where local authorities share parental responsibility for a child in their care who has been admitted to custody, they have statutory responsibilities to continue to plan for their welfare.

The department funded the National Children’s Bureau to research and produce the publication Tell Them Not to Forget About Us, to develop a model of practice to guide local authority social workers and youth offending teams (YOTs) in working together to meet the needs of children from care who go to prison, to make sure that the two agencies can work together better to improve the support provided to this group of vulnerable young people. A copy was sent to every director of children’s services and every YOT manager.

For 2007-08, with the Home Office, my department is funding the placement of social workers in young offender institutions (YOIs). These posts will have an important role in maintaining contact between looked-after young people in custody and the local authorities responsible for their care.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they are taking to ensure that in the case of a looked-after child in custody or on remand there is an effective integration of the child's sentence plan and his care or pathway plan. [HL2459]

The department funded the National Children’s Bureau to develop and publish good practice guidance to assist local authority social workers and youth offending teams (YOTs) in working together to meet the needs of children from care who go to prison. This guidance includes information on good practice so that local authorities and YOTs are able to co-ordinate their respective responsibilities for care planning and for sentence planning. A copy was sent to every director of children’s services and to every YOT manager.