Charity calls for action on child homes

Have your say

Ensuring children who are released from custody have safe and suitable accommodation to go to could save almost £70,000 per child over three years, figures show.

Gaps in Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke’s plans for a rehabilitation revolution could lead to failure, says the children’s charity Barnardo’s.

Children as young as 13 who are caught in a cycle of homelessness and re-offending can cost the Government as much as £116,094 over three years, but up to £67,000 for each child could be saved if they were given the support they need, it said yesterday.

Barnardo’s called for all areas of Government to work together in an attempt to break the cycle of homelessness and reoffending.

A total of 4,147 referrals were made to Barnardo’s to help young people in custody in 2009/10, with housing being a key concern.

Barnardo’s chief executive Anne Marie Carrie said: “These children can be all too easy to ignore, but our report shows that we do so at great cost to their young lives and society.

“Young people who offend are among the most vulnerable; a quarter have special educational needs and almost a fifth have depression, yet children as young as 13 are sent back to families who can’t cope and end up without a safe place to live.”

A Government spokesman said councils had an obligation to provide safe accommodation for young people leaving custody and the Ministry of Justice had outlined proposals in a Green Paper which was being consulted on.