Children in Care: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 17th September 2020.

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Photo of Lord Storey Lord Storey Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children are currently in care; and what percentage of those were provided with laptops for home schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

In terms of the numbers of children in care, the latest published figures show that 78,150 children were looked after, as of 31 March 2019. This information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

The 2020, children looked after, collection closed last month and so we expect to publish the figures for March 2020 later this year.

As of 27 August, the department has delivered, or dispatched, over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers to children who would not otherwise have access, as part of over £100 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care. Over 140,000 of these devices were allocated to local authorities to support vulnerable children, young people with a social worker and care leavers. Further information is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data.

The devices were an injection of support to help local authorities and academy trusts to provide access to education and social care during the COVID-19 outbreak. Local authorities and trusts are responsible for distributing the devices and are best placed to know which children and young people need access to a device.

Devices are owned by the local authority, trust or school who can loan unused devices to children and young people who need them most, and who may face disruption to face-to-face education in the event of future local COVID-19 restrictions.

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