Children who are exposed to the care system at a young age are more likely to become involved in crime as teenagers, government research has found.
A new analysis by the Ministry of Justice cross-references youngsters who were the subject of welfare interventions by social workers while young with those whose names later ended up on the Police National Computer between their 10th and 17th birthdays.
Children exposed to the care system commit crimes as teenagers at a higher rate than their peers. They also tend to become begin offending at an earlier age than even their nefariously-minded counterparts in the general population.
Reasons for the link proposed by the report include a tendency to criminalise children in care through the overuse of police intervention; instable placements affecting children’s mental wellbeing; and the fact that children in care are likely to have come from backgrounds blighted by poverty, neglect and abuse.
The MoJ said:
“[This report] has a specific focus on children that have been named in a public law case, where the local authority has intervened to protect their welfare. It is intended to make a contribution to existing evidence about the extent to which adverse family experiences such as child abuse and neglect, and the experience of the family justice system are associated with the likelihood of offending.”
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