Children: Abuse

Education written question – answered on 8th September 2014.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Labour, Stockton North

To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps her Department is taking in response to research in the NSPCC's report, Returning home from care.

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

A robust assessment of the needs of a child and their family and how these needs will be met through ongoing support from the local authority is crucial if children are to return home safely and successfully from care. Improving practice when children return home from care is a priority for the Government.

In September 2013, the Government published the ‘Improving Permanence for looked-after children’ data pack, which is published online:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-permanence-for-looked-after-children-data-pack

The data pack encourages local authorities to consider their own systems and processes for returning children home and to improving their rate of success.

In 2013 the Department consulted on a range of proposals to improve permanence for looked-after children. Department for Education officials have convened a meeting of the relevant Expert Group on 9 September to discuss these issues and the Government’s formal response will be published later this year.

The Government has commissioned the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) and the Centre for Child and Family Research (CCFR) at Loughborough University to deliver an action research project. The project is working with frontline practitioners and families to support improved practice in returning children home.

This project is complemented by research we have commissioned from the NSPCC and the University of Bristol. Their approach is ‘top down’, working with senior practitioners to implement a specific model of support for children returning home, developed and tested by NSPCC. This research will build on earlier work by NSPCC and includes a focus on implementation science, identifying savings and efficiencies, and developing a practice model that can be used by local authorities without the need for specialist support from the NSPCC.

Both of these research projects will report in 2015.

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