Looked-after Children - Children, Schools and Families Committee Contents

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 340-342)


23 JUNE 2008

  Q340 Mrs Hodgson: And how many, as a ballpark figure, do you think are on the youth offenders register?

  Dr Hart: I do not think that those data are collected. I think that that is an omission.

  Chris Callender: One of the recommendations in our memorandum was that that information should be collated. It is not at the moment.

  Q341 Mrs Hodgson: What I am trying to drive at is that I have looked at the figures in our background

13  See Ev 195

information on the cost per place in a secure children's home, which is £185,000 a child, and there are 230 places. The cost per place in a secure training centre is £172,000 with 275 places. In young offenders institutions the cost is £5,300 per place with 2,800 places.

  Chris Callender: I think that the cost is around £50,000 per place, per annum in a young offenders institution.

  Q342 Mrs Hodgson: Right. That is the average cost for one child. The sums of £185,000 and £175,000 per place per child are huge. The time line that struck me was that when we focus that funding, I cannot help but think that the impact of those children on voters may release the funding, and that when they start to offend, people say, "You must do something about these children." We do not have time to discuss it now, but we must bring that time line and the funding forward. Will you make a quick comment on that?

  Bob Ashford: There have been some good moves. I said just now that the youth offending teams are working with a number of young people on a preventive basis, and that is because, thankfully, the Youth Justice Board has been given new money by the Home Office, DCSF and MOJ to work with those young people. That has been a huge advance over the past five or six years. Other preventive elements are coming in, such as targeted youth support and the Positive Activities for Young People programme, which DCSF has introduced. There have been numerous initiatives with significant funding to try to move that time line further upstream and to identify young people who will offend. Clearly, that is like turning the tanker around in some respects, and we still have young people in the system for whom we must do more, as we have tried to outline today, not just to prevent them from offending, but to prevent them from reoffending. Again, the best way of doing that is with a strong rehabilitation and resettlement scenario.

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