Place more children in care, says Barnardo’s Chief Executive

Posted on June 28th, 2010

Martin Narey, Chief Executive of the children’s charity Barnardo’s has entered the debate over Children’s Services by stating that 1 in 3 children who should be taken into care are being left with inadequate parents.

Narey, whose previous position was Director General of the Prison Service said the conventional wisdom of ‘social services’ was, “…outdated and placed too much premium on keeping the birth family together”.

Narey has called for greater early intervention, saying that leaving the child with the parents, only to intervene later costs Children’s Services up to an extra £33,000 per child per year.

Narey also called for more looked after children to be placed in residential care as opposed to fostering.  Almost 75% of all looked after children are in foster care, with only 13% in residential settings.

Think-tank Demos published a report commissioned by Barnardos this week which corroborated many of Narey’s statements. The report called for earlier intervention, fewer family placements and upping the age of leaving care from 16 to 18 years.

The report also warns of the dangers associated with the budget cuts faced by care services.  According to Demos,   “The temptation to intervene later and cut frontline spending for vulnerable children would be a counter-productive cost cutting exercise”.

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