Irish Penal Reform Trust

Guardian: Spending Early on Children in Care

31st March 2010

Dawn Howley, writing in the Guardian, levels some sobering facts at her readers. There are more than 60,000 children in care in the UK, a colossal population of vulnerable young people. The pathway from a life in care to a life in prison is nowhere more firmly stated than in her statistic that 27% of the adult male prison population were themselves children in care, this figure rises to 50% when only those prisoners under the age of 25 are considered.

Howley, herself a former child in care, cites her personal experience of a therapeutic residential placement as the factor which turned her life around. Such placements, and such intensive interventions, are not cheap and are often not viewed as a viable option as a result.

Such blinkered thinking and short-term policies are damaging both the children to whom the State owes it greatest duty of care, and ultimately, society.

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