The number of children in care has increased during the pandemic

Mar 1, 2021 by

by Harry Phibbs, The Conservative Woman:

While all children have had difficulties during periods of lockdown, it is fair to say that the burden has been uneven. If the family home is a large house and a garden, it is a different proposition to an overcrowded flat. The educational attainment gap between rich and poor has predictably widened. Policymakers are considering how this could be addressed. Professor Len Shackleton, in a paper for the Institute of Economic Affairs, notes that rich parents can use private tutors to help their children catch up. He suggests  pupil premium funds could allow poorer parents to do the same:

“More power could be placed in the hands of poorer parents, who are likely in most cases to have a better understanding of their children’s needs. One way to do this might be to redirect the pupil premium in future to parents in the form of vouchers which could be used to hire tutors or to use for other educational purposes such as theatre or concert visits. This was proposed by Frank (now Lord) Field at the time the pupil premium was announced, and fitted in with his general philosophy that the state and its employees make too many decisions which are better taken by individuals and their families.”

But surely the worst consequence of lockdown will be on children taken into care. The increase in domestic violence and mental illness has made that an inevitable “safeguarding requirement.” What is absolutely not inevitable is that the remainder of their childhood should be spent shunted around the care system – with the disastrous consequences for their life chances that so often entails. Yet that is their current destiny.  Most of them will be placed with foster carers who do their best to achieve some stability for the child. Through no fault of the foster carers that seldom lasts long. Usually, the children are often taken back to the “birth mother” then, typically, taken back to care – after more abuse and neglect. Then starting again with a new foster placement. Research from the charity Action for Children found that one in four foster children in the UK moves home two or more times a year. The law that the interests of the child are “paramount” is routinely flouted. Professor Elaine Farmer carried out a five year follow up study of 138 neglected children who had been returned to their families. 59 per cent of the children “had been abused/neglected after return”.

Read here

Please right-click links to open in a new window.

Related Posts


Share This