Children in care: a north-south divide
July 3, 2017 2 comments
Children are more likely to be taken into care if they live in the North of England than they are in the South.
This divide was identified by researchers from Lancaster University. In a newly published study, they found that in 2015-16 almost half of care applications made in the North West – 46 per cent – had been approved by the courts. Conversely, only a quarter of cases in London resulted in the children being taken into foster care.
Care proceedings are also more likely to be held in the North of England. In the North East, cases are launched for around 34 children out of every 10,000 whereas in the areas surrounding the capital the ratio drops to just 13 per 10,000.
The university’s Centre for Child and Family Justice Research conducted the study. Co-author Professor Judith Harwin claimed that their findings indicated that “children’s vulnerabilities to risk are unequal, and children are bearing that risk”.
She explained that children in the North of England make up 27 per cent of all the country’s children but see more than a third of the care proceedings. This “raises questions about the fairness of the system” Harwin added.
Professor Karen Broadhurst was also an author of the study. Her research specialty focuses on cases where multiple children are removed from a mother immediately following their birth. She said that “if you’ve had one baby removed, there’s a 60 per cent likelihood of a subsequent one being taken – it means the local authority has decided there’s problem before it’s started”.
Broadhurst suggested that Northern local authorities may be “placing too much weight on the history of the case, and are insufficiently open to parental change”. She also pointed out that concerns about “the disproportionate removal of children from poor areas” have been raised by people who study the care system since the 1980s so “why aren’t we doing anything about it”?
Photo by Martin Fisch via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.
July 3, 2017
Categories: Children in care