Select Committee on Children, Schools and Families Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 20-34)



  Q20  Annette Brooke: I was interested in the Children's Plan, in which it is now acknowledged that, for young carers, adult and children's services should work together. It is good that that has been picked up on, but my question is whether we have run into problems because of the separation of children's and adults' social services. Do we need to go further than the Children's Plan?

  Kathy Evans: It would be problematic to suggest that there was a day when adults' and children's services were well co-ordinated and delivered consistently to families that needed both. The situation has certainly changed, particularly in such things as services for young carers and their experiences. We work a lot with children who are affected by parental drug or alcohol misuse, regardless of whether their parents are caring for them. Many of those young people are in care for periods or being looked after by grandparents. There often remains a real disconnect between the standard and focus of care offered to the parent in relation to their needs and to the child in relation to theirs. There is no real coherence about what the priorities are in managing a whole-family case, and how to bring the matter together and say, "Probably every member of this family has individual needs that may sit in some tension with each other. Our objective here is to work with the family to meet as many of those needs as possible, with the welfare of the child paramount." At a practical level, that is difficult to ensure on a day to day basis, perhaps because the professionals concerned are employed by different parts of the authority with different funding constraints and priority regimes. It is also difficult to ensure, when we set up so many rigorous and detailed sets of accountabilities and integrated structures for children and go into great detail on what that should look like, that similar reforms and reorganisations happen in relation to adults in ways that bring them back together when they need to be.

  Q21  Chairman: John, perhaps you could offer a solution, if you have one, as well as a comment on the general issue.

  John Reacroft: On the general issue, I find in my project that it is very difficult to get any service for a child from social services unless the child is in extreme need or at risk. It did not always used to be like that, but over a period of time it has gone much more that way. Even if we find that, for some reason, parents are leaving a child on their own and there are some factors leading to that—perhaps they have no one to look after the child while they do the shopping—and we have realised that the child is too young to be left on their own, we have to inform the local authority that they are at risk. The local authority then has to give a service, but it may well consist of simply a social worker going round and giving the family a telling off. He writes to them, saying "You mustn't do this any more," without particularly looking at what their life might be like in temporary accommodation and what sort of things are leading to the problem. There do not seem to be enough resources. Quite a long time ago, when families started living in bed and breakfast hotels in a big way in the early 1980s, I was a youth worker in King's Cross. We ran a group for some of those families that was organised by the local voluntary organisation. In those days I could ring up the local authority and say that we were doing that, and a social worker would be allocated to come and help run it with me. Those days have long gone. Only children who are in extreme need or at risk seem to be getting much service.

  Q22  Chairman: A description of the problem, not the solution, but there you go. Sometimes there is not an easy solution.

  Dr Aldridge: It has been an ongoing problem, certainly for children who have caring responsibilities for not just parents but siblings. It is about the duality of their role—they are children with adult responsibilities, which is why they have fallen through the net, or the gap in services. But they are getting needs assessments. A lot can be learned from the dedicated projects about how you make the link between adult and children's services because a lot of these projects—similar to the children's centres—take the focus of the child and then look at what the family needs are. I think that probably all the children we have ever had any dealings with in our research and so on have said that what they value is the key worker who is there for the whole family, and who is there not just for them and takes into account the whole picture. It has not been difficult to do that, but the problem is that after those services are set up, they are very precariously funded, and then they run out of funding—expectations are raised and then dashed. That is pretty awful for the families concerned, but I think that they are very good models of working with adult and children's services together and they make important referrals as well.

  Q23  Chairman: One of the things that you and John are saying is something about the quality of the person. So when a social worker goes along and tells you off, that is not a particularly effective intervention, and probably a waste of money. I am struck by what a senior police officer said to the Runaway Children's Panel: "My view is that the whole thing is driven by individuals. There are some experienced and committed people who are the ones who are driving things. The system itself does not provide a safety net; that is provided by some key players, either at national or local level."  If that is the case—I think that both of you are saying something a bit like that—is there not some way that we can make sure that we are not that dependent on the kind of hero individuals who do it right? Is there not some kind of failsafe that we should be looking for?

  John Reacroft: In the projects that I manage the thing I have found to consistently make the biggest difference for families and children is the quality of their relationship with the person allocated to support them in some way. When people do not feel completely on their own it enables them to take more control of their lives, almost irrespective of what that person does. I am not sure, though, what kind of system would create that sort of relationship. In the projects that I manage I make sure that a very important part of the way in which things are organised is for people to know that the quality of their relationship is very important, as well as the technical advice that they give and the way in which they organise a group, which, of course, must be done to the right standard. But I think that putting people together with someone who they know is on their side is a very important part of the solution.

  Kathy Evans: I agree. The description you have given is very accurate, but nothing new. It was certainly something that we were picking up in the drugs sector in relation to who was really behind raising the issue of young people's drug use and needs for treatment—it was very much about individual champions. Sometimes, at the national level, we are not going to get away from that, but I do think that one of the mechanisms that has developed over the years that is reliably fed back routinely from young people—not just concerning the individual, but because of the way they do their job, such as being there for the young people and being really good at creating positive change—is independent advocacy. I have a number of case studies. One that you might like to hear is about how an advocate can play a role in challenging the practices we are talking about, which perhaps do not take into account a child's perspective, and can change outcomes. It also shows that it is about putting in an independent advocate in acknowledgment of the fact that not everyone practises in a child-centred way from the outset. That is why it is so important to have that overtly professional, standard-practice, child-centred independent advocacy service in place when we know that there are institutional risks that those children's perspectives will not be heard or will be overlooked. Would you like to hear the case?

  Q24  Chairman: It might be sensible to give us a copy. You often need to mull over such things. Do you want to say something about that Jo?

  Dr Aldridge: That highlighted to me that this is what we are talking about. Certainly, in our last study on mental illness, we called the person their "champion" because the children saw the key workers as their champions. It was about not just training, but developing a relationship with these young people, and that is not necessarily so difficult. I have done it with a lot of the families that I have done research with, and it was an essential part of the process. Touching on something that Kathy said earlier when looking at the Children's Plan, it is about setting up parent panels and parent advisors in schools. I did not get a sense of where the children's voices were in that and where the consultation was. I keep referring to schools because I think that they are so critical. A lot of the time schools will say, "Well, it is okay, we have representation because we have school councils," and that is it, but I do not think that that is necessarily good enough. Certainly, the research has shown that school council representation is very problematic and does not represent all children. Where are the children's panels and their voices in that? That could help to pick up some of those issues from their perspective, because a lot of children and young people are very fearful. Kathy talked about the institution, but from our experience children are very fearful of anyone who is professional. I have gone in and interviewed kids and it is fine, as long as you are in jeans and not in a suit with a clip board, which would frighten them. Young carers are usually hugely frightened of family break-up and of being taken into care and that is also an obstacle for professionals working with those children. However, it is not all one-sided. It is not always the professional's fault if they are not picking up a lot of those children because that can be the result of fear. How do you let children have a voice? I think that they have not got that voice, certainly not in schools, from my experience anyway.

  Q25  Mrs Hodgson: That leads nicely on to the subject that I want to talk about: why children and young people might choose to stay under the radar. When I first read this section, I was aware of the inverse care law whereby families who most need some of the care and services that we provide are the least likely to access them. I always thought that that was more because we did not find them, rather than because they were hiding from the services available. From reading through the documents available, I picked up that a culture of secrecy is prevalent among young carers, in particular, who choose to stay under the radar, and I am greatly concerned about that. Are the children in the families justified in being wary of the services, and what kind of experiences have happened to those families? Can you give some examples of the experiences that have made them have that fear? You spoke about the fear of being taken into care, so is that the major fear?

  Dr Aldridge: That is the major fear, and it is well founded because our latest piece of research on the profiles of young carers—I do not have the statistics off the top of my head—indicated that a fifth had gone into care or were in local authority care, whether short or long-term, because of parental illness or disability. Therefore, they know that that is a key issue for them if they tell someone, including someone at school and their friends. Our most recent piece of research looked at how children build resilience in those very difficult circumstances. It found that they have an inner circle of friends who they trust and an outer circle that consists of the rest of the kids who they know, but would not dare tell. If they are not telling the people who are effectively closest to them, how do we get them to open up to a professional?  Unfortunately, a lot of the examples in the research show that they have very good reasons to be fearful, particularly where there is a serious mental health problem. As soon as a GP gets involved at that level or a social worker comes into the house and sees a parent with schizophrenia, alarm bells automatically ring, and that is not what the children want. They want help and support, but they do not want their family stability threatened. So, yes, they do have very good reasons to be fearful.

  Kathy Evans: Many of the issues that have been raised apply to young carers, but also to some of the other groups that I have been talking about. We know that, for some young people and their families, if they do not trust the institution with which they are primarily engaged, it is because they have tried trusting it before and have been proved wrong. We need to acknowledge that a bad experience of being overlooked or disbelieved will tell you all you need to know next time you need to get help.  I have a quote from our research from a young English Gypsy woman, who said that she went to school "until some girls poured water all over me because I was a `dirty Traveller'. My Mam went up to school and asked them what they were going to do about it but they did nothing so Mam said I wasn't going again 'cos it was disrespectful to ignore her complaints." So, that led to that child being taken out of school. The mother will not allow that experience to happen again. Even one particularly disrespectful or disbelieving engagement can have the most damaging effect on future help-seeking or future engagement with services.  In 2006, we conducted a piece of research called Just Justice about black young people's experience of a variety of criminal justice agencies. [2]They talked a lot about their early experience with schools. They were extremely convinced that no one was to be trusted and that the authorities were not there to protect them or to be trusted. For them, that view was forged from experience. With issues such as bullying, even if the school, GP or care provider would be sympathetic, if children fear that raising their concern will expose them to stigma, teasing or being identified in ways that lead to bullying, that can be enough. There need not be an explicit reason not to trust the adults involved. Undoubtedly, fear of being taken into care is a factor. Many children and young people, whether they are from refugee, Traveller or young carer families, feel fiercely protective of their family's dignity and honour, particularly if the situation that they or their parents are struggling with at home is one that their parents would feel ashamed of. Young people are capable of taking a lot of responsibility for that kind of protection on to their shoulders. Certainly, we work with some families for whom generations of experience tell the children that school is not to be trusted. Their parents have not had an experience that leads them to respect the school or to want to go back there to speak about things. So, there are cultural expectations about not getting involved and not telling people.

  Q26  Mrs Hodgson: You have set out the reasons for the situation, but what can we do to overcome them? What, in your experience, are the main factors that can influence a child's decision to seek to disclose a situation? Is there anything that leads up to that or that the agencies can do? I know that teachers are probably best placed to identify some of those children, but how can we get the children back on the radar?

  Dr Aldridge: That is difficult. To some extent, it goes back to the idea of a champion. How do you make a good teacher? How do you make one who communicates well with the children and earns respect, and so on?  Much of our research on specific areas of young carers' lives has shown that they do have significant others in their lives and that they are not entirely isolated. It is about identifying those people who can be advocates, which Kathy talked about, but in a more informal sense, so that it takes away that fear. That has worked. Certainly, young carers projects, for example, work with other people who are significant in their lives. They identify those people and work through them. In many ways the project workers, for example, are seen as friends first and foremost. Such people need to be identified. It is very difficult to do that through school, as you said, but it does happen. A lot of our children have said, "Well, actually, the key person I would talk to is my teacher." How you develop those informal advocacy skills is a difficult matter, but it is possible to use those informal support networks, without a shadow of a doubt.

  Kathy Evans: I would add that, for children who have communication impairments, we need to make an overt and special commitment to learn how to communicate with them, to learn what methods they can use to communicate, and to make sure that they are asked and given opportunities to communicate. That is one of the reasons why we think independent advocacy is so critical for disabled children, both those placed away from home and those in other circumstances. So many children with communications impairments are assumed to have nothing to say, and that can be exactly the barrier behind which, from their perspective, all sorts of problems are hiding. We have to make sure that such young people can communicate with us. That also applies where English is not a first language. We might have genuine reasons to be concerned about many of these children. Might they be trafficked? Might they be feeling vulnerable? Might they be caring for a parent who is traumatised or has mental health problems? We need to make sure we can communicate in ways that feel comfortable for them and that enable them to express themselves, in addition to standing by young people, trusting them and not expecting them to disclose the most serious things on first engagement.

  John Reacroft: The group I know about—the children of families living in temporary accommodation—is, in general, desperate to get on the radar. They fall into the first group you mentioned. But out of those who may be falling under the radar if they meet a service like the one we provide it is quite easy to persuade them to get involved in different systems, but they[3] are quite a small minority of the group I know about.[4]

  Q27  Mrs Hodgson: I have a last question about GPs. We are having a debate at the moment about GPs, their contracts and what we ask them to do. Young carers, in particular, are under the radar in lots of ways, but often the person they are caring for is not. They will be going to see a GP to access the medication and help that they need. I imagine the GP would know that that person has children, and could surely put two and two together to have some joined-up thinking. What is your opinion on that?

  Chairman: Jo, you have researched this.

  Dr Aldridge: You would imagine that that would be the case. Perhaps you were not here when we discussed it. I run training sessions for GPs in the Nottingham region, and they do not see it as part of their role to look at the children. That is true not only of GPs. The work I have done with Adrian Falkov and others has been trying to push this message to psychiatrists working with adult patients. What impact is it having on the children? Are there any children? It is a simple question, and it is not being asked. Often they do not put two and two together, and that is a crucial issue.

  Q28  Chairman: GPs call themselves family doctors, so maybe they should see themselves as responsible for the whole family.

  Kathy Evans: I would just add that if our real concern is the child in the home situation, in particular where there may be mental health concerns or drug and alcohol use affecting the child, it is not to be assumed that the parent is seeking health care, and the child may be part of—and expected to be part of—hiding or denying that problem.

  John Reacroft: We have made a particular recommendation about children in asylum-seeking families. Children who are unaccompanied asylum seekers are given a specialist case owner who sees their case all the way through, but if you are a child in a family where the asylum seeker is your parent, you get no such specialist support. Often the children are just part of the asylum application, and are not looked at as children at all. That is one group that could fall under the radar very significantly.

  Q29  Chairman: So one way of getting that group of children on to someone's radar is to make sure that the Home Office recognises them and their needs in dealing with their parents' cases?

  John Reacroft: That is right.

  Q30  Mr Carswell: We have talked about how to get children out from under the radar. Is that not the wrong way to look at it? It is not just the terminology that is wrong. The phrase somehow implies that it is the fault of these individuals, and that there is an army of hyper-efficient, diligent state officials waiting with open arms to sort out their problems. If only these atomised pesky young people would fall into the arms of the state sector, all would be well. Is this not the wrong way of looking at it? In fact, all people tend to have civic relationships, perhaps in minority communities and among refugees. They are never quite as atomised as we like to think.  The failing here is one of a monumentally useless state system that is unresponsive. It is not sitting there diligently waiting to help people. We know from what you said earlier that it has not even assessed how many people are brought into this country to work as indentured child labour. You gave an example of a state employee who was not even able to respond properly to an incident of what sounded like racial bullying. Surely the problem is not what we can do to encourage the recipients of state benevolence but the fact that the state may not be quite as benevolent and responsive as we like to think?

  Chairman: All the people giving us evidence are from voluntary organisations and not representatives of the state.

  Mr Carswell: Indeed. With great respect—I know you did not mean to show any prejudice—it is precisely because they work for the voluntary sector that I want them to give an objective view of the role of the state.

  Chairman: I just wanted to point that out.

  Mr Carswell: As did I.

  Kathy Evans: As I said at the beginning, I think you could wrestle with the definitions and what we mean by beneath the radar or off the radar or under the carpet. Much of what we have been talking about concerns children who have been in regular contact with some kind of state agency. For most children in most circumstances that would be only school and health care.  We do not expect every family to be extensively involved with agencies of the state but some of the children at greatest risk are under extensive scrutiny. The issue is that their needs and welfare are not being picked up as a result of that scrutiny. There are children whose existence is unknown to state agencies of any kind. We have had cases where children have been brought into the country and largely not left a domestic home where they have been working in servitude. That is not dissimilar to Victoria Climbié's case. Although she was not reported as working in servitude, she did not get out and have any contact or schooling. The social workers and housing workers who knew about the case did not speak to her. There are undoubtedly both situations going on. There are children whom no one in the adult world, professional or otherwise, finds out are here and that there are reasons to be concerned. Probably, the majority of serious cases where there is a failure to identify children at risk, whose outcomes are looking very poor, are actually in contact with concerned adults, with employed professionals, whether they are voluntary sector workers or whether they are teachers. How they disengage with that or to what extent the adults around them would recognise them as being at risk is what we have got to get to the bottom of.

  John Reacroft: The main issue for families in temporary accommodation is access to services. It is not particularly an issue of whether the services are there or not. Moving around frequently and without any choice removes the access to support services that you might have had. That seems to be the biggest problem.

  Dr Aldridge: A lot of families do expect the state to be there and to be benevolent, helpful and supportive—even if the depressing message is that it is not. One of the reasons we are having this meeting is to address some of those issues. It is the responsibility of the state to pick up on them. I would hope, not just professionally as a researcher in this area but also as a parent, that schools, for example, are looking after children's welfare and that that is their responsibility.  Given that parents, including those with serious health problems and disabilities, have an expectation, the problem is that they are under the radar for a number of reasons that we have discussed, and one of the main ones is fear. We are concerned with how to address that. Hopefully some of the issues that we have been talking about today have successfully looked at some of those key points. A lot of families do not want support or are fearful, but I think they would like to know that someone will be there at the end of the phone.

  Q31  Annette Brooke: I have a desire to get some grasp of the scale of the issues, but I hesitate to ask you to speculate on numbers. What sort of dimension are we talking about of children not known to any services and what sort of dimension are known to some services but are seriously not getting the support they need? I am sure there are umpteen families who are not getting sufficient support, but for the purposes of the inquiry, we are looking at those two levels. We keep talking about this. There are 100,000 runaways and it clocks up to quite a large number. I do not want to pin you down, but do you have any idea of the percentage of children in England?

  Chairman: Kathy, you are probably in the best position to make a guess here.

  Kathy Evans: There are multiple health warnings attached to this. Both times that we have done our surveys with young people about incidents of running away, it has come out the same. In 1999 and 2005 there were an estimated 100,000 incidents a year, based on our survey of 13,000 young people. In relation to children affected by drug use, we are looking at an estimate done for the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs of around 1.2 million young people in England; I think it was 3.2 million in the UK as a whole. It gets much higher when you talk about children affected by parental alcohol use. Children trafficked in, and therefore deliberately rendered invisible, are particularly difficult to estimate. CEOP, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, has produced a really useful report that attempts to pin down cases ranging from general scare stories to documentable cases, and to rank them in terms of how confident we can be that it was a trafficking case. One case may have indicators of trafficking, but we may not be sure. The centre looked at 330 cases between March 2005 and December 2006, and it put all the necessary caveats on how we should understand that. But we are talking in the hundreds.  We certainly have an accountable but steady flow of cases that we are concerned about on the basis of trafficking who come to light, through whatever means. They come to light—often through police action—as working in cannabis factories and working illegally, for example. We then view them as children believed to be at risk of trafficking, but quite often they are responded to as migrants without proper documentation or involved in illegal working. We have definitional issues. Of the 100,000 runaways, it would not be accurate to say that those 100,000 young people have opted out of all contact with services or that they are not known to services. That is about the decision to leave home. We know from the Still Running document that of those young people who ran away for one night or more, only one in 10 sought any kind of professional help while they were away. For the period that they are away, almost all of them are entirely and extensively out of professional contact. How long is a piece of string? How many children are young carers under the statutory definition and run away at some point? To the immigration services, they are children in asylum-seeking families, but to the local young carers service they are young carers. Those are overlapping figures and it would be very difficult to get at what you are asking for.

  Annette Brooke: Yes, I know that we are not talking about an insignificant problem.

  Kathy Evans: It is not insignificant at all.

  Q32  Annette Brooke: Obviously, many of us applaud the concepts of SureStart and of trying to identify those problems at the earliest possible stage. However, a lot of the evaluation shows that SureStart is failing quite significantly to identify those hard to reach families. We keep talking about outreach, and I would like to ask each of you very quickly what you would see as a form of outreach that would really work and find some of the children about whom we have been talking all morning? Do we need specially qualified people? Are we paying enough attention to the role of an outreach worker?

  Kathy Evans: Outreach simply describes an action. Lots of different specialist services might describe themselves as having an outreach methodology, which might mean having workers who go out physically to people's houses. In other models of outreach, they might go out and take a satellite service to a local community hall, or there might be a co-location of services. For example, you might get a child protection specialist outreaching to a GP surgery. Outreach is essential and it is hard to imagine how you could find the hard to reach without being committed to outreach.

  Q33  Annette Brooke: But is this something that we really need to get a grip on? There are people doing lots of good things all over the place, but have we actually got this sussed and a proper approach to outreach?

  Kathy Evans: I think that we are all guilty—we certainly are—of using the phrase "hard to reach" as if that is what we are really talking about. It suggests that we are reaching, but still not getting. A lot of the time, we are really talking about services that are not inquiring or including people properly. It is not that the people are hard to reach or to identify, but that the service does not provide for them in a way that would encourage them. A lot of the issues that we are talking about fall into that category. A child in a 52-week residential placement is not hard to reach or to find, but if they are not being communicated with, they are very hard to understand. For children or families who might fall into the category of literally having very precarious or no engagement with professional services, we must look at the responsibility of and care provided by those who come across them, professional or otherwise, in order to do something about it and to alert them. We talk all the time about feral children as if they are not human, live on and wander the streets and never return from them. Instead of thinking about what we can do to punish them, why do we not think about finding out what is going on at home and why are they in a situation without boundaries? Why are we busy running away from them when we should be running toward them and finding out what is happening?

  Chairman: Jo and John, I must ask you to respond quite quickly.

  Dr Aldridge: That was a bit unfair for Kathy, because the question encompassed just about everybody. I think that it is quite straightforward with young carers. We know that support services are inconsistent and patchy, particularly in those physically hard to reach areas, such as rural areas, where there is not the required support, particularly from the young carers' projects. They could progress if they were set up with long-term funding, because they reach an awful lot of children. It would be very easy to do that, given the right resources and funding.

  John Reacroft: My group is quite hard to find because the people are temporary and transient residents in neighbourhoods. My staff have to do a lot of intelligence work. Certain types of accommodation are more likely to have homeless households with children in them. We have to go and knock on the doors of such accommodation. Professionals such as health visitors and schools will have some contact with those children. That might be intermittent contact, but we try to have as many links as we can with those professionals, because they can refer families to us whom they think need additional support. Even though we are offering a service that families really need—and once they get the service, they really want it—we have to make huge efforts to ensure that they know that it is there and that it is in a place where they can access it. Some points have been made about going out and putting things in church halls and so on. We have to do that sort of thing to ensure that people are aware of the services that they might need. It is also important that we can move the services elsewhere quite quickly, because populations of homeless households move around.

  Q34  Annette Brooke: That outreach work is something that we really need to delve into. None of the organisations appear to be concerned about the new arrangements for money that formerly came through the Children's Fund, which now goes into local authorities. I presume that some of the important projects that we have been talking about would have received funding from the Children's Fund. Will you give an indication of whether there are concerns about that in your spheres, or whether you are working closely with local authorities to ensure that all is well?

  Dr Aldridge: Yes, there are problems. You are right that that funding was there, but it runs out and it is not enough. The short answer is that there are problems with it.

  Kathy Evans: My answer is that it varies in as many ways as there are authorities that we work with. Some were very well prepared for the intended end of the Children's Fund and had already done quite a good piece of work in integrating the best of what the Children's Fund had achieved into their local area agreements; others were caught on the hop. I cannot give you a categorical yes or no. It would be fair to say that all the changes to the funding streams and to the expectations of how local commissioning should work have contributed to quite a confused and destabilising situation for the voluntary sector.

  John Reacroft: We get very little support from local authorities for our work with homeless families. Many authorities do not see us as giving them a service at all, because they do not particularly want families who know what the local authority should be doing for them turning up at their doorsteps, especially if they are trying to divert such people from making homelessness applications, which they should be making in their own interests. For almost the whole of the lifetime of the project that I manage, it has been pretty much 100% funded by Barnardo's voluntary contributions. We have recently achieved about 40% statutory funding through London councils. Apart from meeting the requirements of the housing legislation for children who are living in temporary accommodation, local authorities do not have very much money to spend on the kind of support services that we offer.

  Chairman: May I thank you all very much for coming here? Kathy has promised us a case study, which I am sure all members of the Committee, including those who were not able to be here, would like to look at. I think that we have a pretty clear picture that this is not a small-scale problem, but a serious one. The view of all our witnesses is that there is a key issue about professionals being able to connect with young people, to listen to them and to give them a voice. That is what I am hearing as a thread that runs through a lot of what you say. What you have said will feed into some other inquiries that we are doing about the future of children's trusts, the Children's Plan and so on. It has been a very useful sitting—thank you very much indeed.

2   Just Justice, March 2006, research commissioned by the Children's Society, conducted by the University of Central England. Back

3   ie the ones who initially do not want to be on the radar (note by witness). Back

4   ie families living in temporary accommodation (note by witness) Back

previous page contents

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2008
Prepared 24 June 2008