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Children in care - striking the right balance

19 June 2012

A report by MPs has found placing young children far from home could encourage them to abscond, leaving them vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Recent convictions in Rochdale confirms that the problem is widespread and needs addressing.

The report highlights the problem police face in keeping children safe as information regarding the location of care homes cannot be released to them. The report recommends, amongst others, a scorecard system to rate local authorities, a new system for reporting runaways, and further training of staff.

Many care homes are considered to be unsuitable and of poor quality. Regardless of location, residents will continue to abscond and it will always be difficult to keep tabs on them. Questions remain whether new systems can prevent children absconding and minimise the risk of exploitation. A careful balance needs to be maintained between keeping children safe from the risk of sexual abuse and allowing them to maintain a sense of freedom. Otherwise, they may resent the Care system and further abscond.

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