Children in care 'under-perform academically'

 

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The Independent Online

Children in care are not likely to perform well academically, with less than 25% attaining five C to A* grade GCSEs, figures released today will show.

In 36 local authorities, fewer than 10% of children taken into care achieve the grades, the statistics are expected to show.

The Government will release the figures this morning as part of an initiative to tackle local authorities' under-performance for children in care and adoption.

The figures are also expected to show that the proportion of "care leavers" not in education, employment and training is up to 69% in the worst areas.

Later today, the Department for Education will publish a series of tables ranking local authorities on key issues relating to children in care and adoption.

A spokeswoman said the Government wants to overhaul the care and adoption system to improve chances for vulnerable children.

The number of babies adopted in England fell to 60 last year, with children waiting an average of two years and seven months to be found a new home, a spokeswoman said.

Since 2007 the numbers of adoptions have fallen 8%, she added.

In a recent speech, Education Secretary Michael Gove said local authorities should speed up the adoption process.

He also warned that children were spending too long in care or with dysfunctional families when they could be adopted or fostered.

Mr Gove said: "At fault is primarily a justice and a family justice system which does not prioritise the needs of the child and takes forever to make critical decisions which matter hugely in ensuring the child is found the right home.

"We need to make sure local government overall is supported in making sure that the decisions about the appropriateness of a child being placed with a foster or adoptive family are taken more quickly.

"Critically we need to make sure that the family justice system does not second guess or undermine the professional judgment or social workers who see what's been happening on the ground and know how important it is to find a foster or adoptive home."

The Government is backing a recruitment drive to get more people adopting and fostering children.

PA

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