Social Policy: Looked After Children

2005 Words May 20th, 2012 9 Pages
This essay will examine the past and present social policy regarding looked after children in the UK, dating back to the late 1970’s. It will examine how the policy has evolved over the last thirty years, and whether political and economical influences have impacted on its development. This essay will also seek to explore what impact the policies regarding looked after children have on the members of society it is aimed at assisting.
The definition of a ‘looked after child’ is an individual, up to the age of 18 who has been placed in the care of the local authority, whether this is placed with foster carers, either short or long term or a residential unit. Also, children who are subject to either a Full Care Order, or an Interim Care
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Although, at this time, the current government policy had an emphasis on foster or adoption, recognising that the best option for children was to grow up within a family environment. However, without the necessary training, and assessment of the viability of prospective foster carers, placements often broke down, resulting in children moving to lots of different placements before finally ‘ending up in residential care. At this time, children had relatively no say in arrangements for their care or future, and often little or no contact with their birth family.

During the 1980’s and to the mid 1990’s, the provision for looked after children underwent a massive overhaul. After the abuse and deaths of another three children in the early 80‘s, a number of parliamentary reports led to the development of The Children Act 1989. This act “marked a watershed in legislation on children” and “tried to balance two sets of contradictory pressures; greater child protection with greater parental rights” (Glennerster, 2007). Also, an alarming number of reports into institutional abuse of children in care in the1990‘s came to light, and following a frenzied media coverage, and yet another public outcry, the government commissioned Sir William Utting, Chief Inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate to
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