WillisPalmer is continuing to provide our expert social work and psychological services during lockdown. We are utilising technology alongside safe working practices in line with government guidance to enable us to continue supporting vulnerable children and families.

Call 01206 878178 to discuss your requirements.
Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Gove to chair advisory board to end criminalisation of children in residential care

Michael Gove is set to advise a two-year drive to end criminalisation in residential care.

The Howard League for Penal Reform has launched a two year programme which will exploring best practice within the police service and the residential care sector in a bid to keep as many looked-after children as possible out of the criminal justice system.

The charity’s programme will be supported by an advisory board chaired by former education secretary Michael Gove.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “We are delighted to announce this important programme of work, which will build on our existing expertise on the policing of children and respond to concerns that police forces themselves have highlighted to us on the criminalisation of children in residential care.

“There are two major questions we shall seek to answer. Firstly, how can children’s homes be encouraged to manage children’s behaviour without recourse to the police? And secondly, in those cases when the police are called out to homes, what can be done to avoid a child being unnecessarily criminalised?

“I am particularly pleased to welcome the involvement of Michael Gove, who has spoken so eloquently in the past about doing the best for troubled children in our society.”

The project follows research, published by the Howard League in March http://howardleague.org/publications/criminal-care/ , which found that children aged 13 to 15 living in children’s homes were found to be almost six times as likely to be criminalised as looked after children of the same age in other placements – and almost 20 times more likely to be criminalised than non-looked after children.

The Howard League’s research also highlighted a potential systemic problem that led residential care staff to resort to the police, often over minor incidents that would never come to officers’ attention if they happened in family homes.

The two-year programme will look at how the best children’s homes in the country support children and will aim to identify best practice in police forces to divert children from the criminal justice system.

Children in care will be interviewed as part of the programme to ensure that their views are taken into consideration when policy is shaped through the drive.

The number of looked after children in England and Wales is at its highest point for more than 30 years.

Martin Narey conducted a review of residential care earlier this year. Narey highlights a south-east protocol to reduce offending and criminalisation of children in care (Hampshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex Police Services) which states that: “It will be an expectation of all local authorities that staff and carers of children in care will strive to manage challenging behaviour at the placement address by way of internal resolution without involvement of the police wherever possible.”

The former head of the National Offender Management System recommended in the inquiry that the Department for Education and the Home Office should urge police services and local authorities to replicate the south-east protocol, or to agree similar arrangements. If they are not already doing so, police and authorities should apply a restorative justice approach in dealing with children’s unacceptable behaviour.

Make an enquiry

A multi-disciplinary organisation providing independent, high quality social work and psychological services. Contact us with your requirements and speak to a member of our team who will help you today.
Make an Enquiry

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

Progress in production of code for civil claimants of child sexual abuse


Work is underway for a code to be produced for the benefit of claimants who are bringing civil claims for child sexual abuse.

In its Accountability and Reparations Inquiry , the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse recommended that The International Underwriting Association of London should take the lead in the production of a code [...]

Read Full Story

Bill introduced to see all crimes committed by under-18s dealt with in youth courts


A bill has been introduced to Parliament which would ensure that all children are dealt with by the youth courts rather than the adult courts if the alleged crime is carried out before the child reaches 18.

Rob Butler, former magistrate in both adult and youth courts, a member of the Youth Justice Board, a non-executive [...]

Read Full Story

Rise in parental drug and alcohol misuse since first lockdown


The NSPCC has seen a rapid increase in contacts from members of the public that children are being put at risk as a result of parental drug and alcohol misuse.

Since April 2020, the number of people contacting the children’s charity with concerns about drug and alcohol misuse among parents has risen by 66%. Between January [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today
Delivering a diverse, reliable range of services to children and their families across the UK
D1, Parkside, Knowledge Gateway, Nesfield Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 3ZL
Contact Us

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

closechevron-downbars linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram