Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Children in public care: Has nothing changed in 68 years?

I have written before about Dennis O'Neill, a boy whose death scandalised the country in 1945. He was starved and beaten to death by the couple with whom he and his brother had been placed after being taken into public care.

One reason that their suffering was not identified was that the O'Neill brothers had been taken into care by Newport council in South Wales and placed with a couple in Shropshire. And Shropshire County Council did not seem to have much concern for the welfare of children for whom another authority was responsible.

You might have hoped that things had improved in 68 years, but what do we read in the Shropshire Star today?
Forty children were living in Shropshire care homes without the knowledge of the police, a report has found. 
Children in care were three times more likely to go missing than other children, it said. 
Yet those placed in the county’s private care homes by outside authorities were slipping under the radar, the in-depth review by Telford & Wrekin’s children and young people scrutiny committee found. 
The document said this happened because Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin councils have no statutory duties towards the youngsters.


John Holt said...

Why should the police be aware that a child is in a care home? It's a care home not a punishment centre.

Jonathan Calder said...

I thought that too.

My point is that the council for the area where the children are living should take some responsibility for their welfare.