• Lucy Parkinson

The Cost of a Lifetime in Care - 2016

61% of children enter the care system because of abuse or neglect and 16% enter due to family dysfunction 3 (which has increased from 14% since 2011). A child is in the care system because their family is unable to support them and the Local Authority have become their corporate parent. Subsequently, the child will have experienced traumatic events that will affect their welfare, mental health, behaviour, and educational progress. The role of the care system is to protect the child and provide a life that they should have received from the parental figure but is now achieved through the means of adoption, fostering and residential care.

The above infographic gives you an instant understanding of a hypothetical, but oh so real, life of a person who is dependant on the state to provide them with care throughout their whole life. The types or care and time periods spent in each have been generated from the current statistical outcomes for care leavers.

This infographic was produced to provide an overall understanding of the current economic situation. It shows the importance of early intervention to change the picture. I passionately believe that if we invest in the child residential stage we can change people's lives and break the cycle.

There are 69,540 Children in Care in England. This has increased by 6% since 2011, compared to the population increase in England of 0.8%. While the majority of Children in Care are placed in foster care placements, 12% of Children in Care are placed within children’s homes, hostels, or secure accommodation, this accounts for 8,320 children; of this, 5,290 children are in residential children’s care homes.

Every year 10,000 young people leave care from the ages of 18-21 with little or no support. The statistics for life after care are negative; 20% of young people now homeless, 24% of the adult prison population, and 70% of sex workers have previously been in care. 34% of care levers are NEET and only 6% are in higher education. As shown in the above image the cost of a person supported by the local authority throughout their lifetime has a significant cost to the taxpayer.

If you want to discuss the above research or see the original references and data used to create this image, please get in touch.

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