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Children in UK’s Poorest Areas Ten Times More Likely to Go into Care
One in 60 children are taken into care from the UK’s most deprived areas compared to one in every 660 from the wealthiest areas study finds.
In a study of over 35,000 children in the UK’s care system, the Child Welfare Inequalities project found that for every 10% increase in deprivation rates, there was an extra 30% chance that the child would go into care. The study also found that children of mixed heritage were most likely to be taken into care, with Asian children the least likely.
Professor Paul Bywaters from Coventry University who led the study, matched the findings to the idea that the least deprived councils simply do not have the funds to inject into children’s services.
According to Community Care “The study found ‘high deprivation’ councils in England saw children’s services expenditure per child cut by an average of 21% between 2010 and 2015, compared to 7% in low deprivation authorities. By 2015 high deprivation councils were spending a larger proportion of their budgets on looked-after children and a small proportion on preventive and early help services.”
Social workers who were interviewed on the topic, said that they felt ‘overwhelmed’ when they were faced with the severe deprivation of these families. They noted that the lack of money, food and housing were seen as major factors that were impacting the children’s wellbeing.
The study found that the processes for social workers assessing and managing cases rarely includes taking action on these issues. “Most social workers saw their core business as risk assessment, and regarded actions to address poverty (benefits advice, provision of food, rights advocacy) as services others should provide.”
Evidence also suggests that there was more chance of intervention from social services for poor families living in affluent authorities than for poorer families living in deprived council areas. According to researchers the most likely explanation was that, relative to demand, more deprived councils have fewer resources to allocate to cases and therefore “have to ration scarce resources more tightly”.