24 Apr 2007

Social capital - more children in care, despite 'early intervention'

Children in care: Telford numbers rise despite use of early intervention by Sarah Cooper, 25 April 2007 [Children Now]

"Telford & Wrekin Council has seen a rise in the number of looked-after children on its books despite using early intervention.

The figures go against Government thinking spelled out in Every Child Matters that early intervention schemes would reduce the numbers of children in care. But professionals believe this does not mean the system is not working and instead say it is proving more efficient at helping families in need......."

"But Ian Johnston, chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers, said he is not surprised the numbers of children in care have increased. "Government policy is too simplistic and one of the problems with political parties is they look for the quick fixes." [my italics]

"The rise in numbers was revealed at last week's Looked-After Children: Early intervention and specialist services conference run by Priory Education Services. Barbara Evans, head of safeguarding and corporate parenting at the council, said there were 198 looked-after children at the year ending 31 March 2006, while at 31 March 2007 there were 231."

The problem with evidence like this is that to be properly understood it needs to be put into context and studied over a suitable period of time, probably several years.

All the more reason, it seems to me, to keep pressing for a Social Capital Index of which the increase or decrease in children taken into care should be one component.

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