First, my Lords, I apologise: the Question did not appear on the Order Paper in the manner I thought in my head I had asked it. I am not sure what happened but I did not look at the actual Question until last night. I actually wanted to ask about children in care rather than just childcare, so I apologise to the House and to the Minister.
The number of children in care is higher than ever before and rising every year. The money going to local government to look after them is reducing, which means that local government is now spending a very high proportion of its money allocated to children in the care system, and not on early prevention and so on. This is now a crisis. We continue to see the most vulnerable children ending up more likely to be in the criminal justice system than in university on leaving care. The system is broken and the state is not proving to be a good parent. Will the Government take hold of this and make sure that they have a proper look at the whole system, which is broken and not working? The Government need to change the way in which they look after the most vulnerable children.