A huge part of the Council’s budget goes in children in care. There are 200 in Hammersmith and Fulham – including 145 with foster carers and 20 in children’s homes. Yet while the spending is high the “life chances” are low. Children in care are much less likely to get into university or have good job, they do worse at school, they are more likely to end up in prison, they are more likely to have poor health.
More could and should have the chance to be adopted into permanent loving homes.
But there are other improvements that could be made. More could be switched from institutional care to the family environment of foster carers.
Also a charity called Buttle UK offers boarding school placements – with a proven record of success. This is not suitable for all children in care. But it would be for many more than currently get the chance. Only two children from H&F have been placed there. That’s just one per cent.
Then there is the National Citizen Service.
The Council tells me:
One young person completed the course last year. The feedback forms the social worker was as follows:
‘My young person completed the course last year. He enjoyed it very much. His foster carer was very supportive and encouraging. The young person has a certificate which states: In recognition of the contribution you have made to your community and to your country by completing the National Citizenship service 2016. This is signed by the Rt Hon Theresa May.’
The Virtual School encourage the NCS at personal education meetings where it is deemed appropriate for the young person.
I understand that as an organisation, they often go into schools during Year 11 and present to students encouraging them to attend.”
But why did only child participate?
We can – and we must – do better.