‘Absent’ children category lambasted

31 May 2016 

THIS WEEK a parliamentary group criticised the police reporting system introduced in 2013 which brought in a new classification of “absent” for around 10,000 children a year who would previously have been classed as “missing”, thereby invoking a much lower level of police response. Children placed in care outside their local authority boundaries were at high risk of going missing and more likely to be categorised as absent, said the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults.  The report highlighted a number of examples where children classed as absent, some for several days at a time, had been subjected to child sexual exploitation.

MEANWHILE LOCAL Children’s Safeguarding Boards in their current form are to be scrapped the government announced in its response to a review of the boards by Alan Wood which found that current arrangements were too unwieldy. Serious case reviews are also to be replaced with a more consistent system of reviewing and reporting cases where a child dies or is seriously injured due to potential neglect or abuse.  The NSPCC’s Karen Childs Smith sums up the Wood Review and the government’s responses and what they mean.

AS PART of Foster Care Fortnight fostering charity Tact released a film to highlight how a child comes into care every 20 minutes. In it two children took it in turns to stand alone in a busy shopping street for 20 minutes to see if anyone would stop to help them. In the first filming of the video no-one did. Al Coates celebrated foster carers as unsung heroes in a blog post retweeted to coincide with Foster Carer fortnight while Lucy Gibbs asked if there was a better way to recruit foster carers in Beyond Fostering.

HMRC RAN a series of webinars covering foster carers and self-assessment which revealed that many carers were still failing to register as self-employed and subsequently faced financial penalties – even where they were not liable to pay tax under the current tax exemptions for foster carers. An alternative e-learning package on tax and national insurance is available for foster carers who missed the webinars.

FINALLY International Foster Care Organisation (IFCO) is calling for care leavers to apply for the IFCO 2016 Pat Whelan Youth Fund Award which will help pay for young people in and from care to attend IFCO 2016 European Conference taking place from 1-4 September 2016 in Sheffield.

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