Surrey’s approach to keeping children in care out of custody was today praised in an independent review chaired by Lord Laming.
The cross-bench peer’s report for the Prison Reform Trust found action needs to be taken to prevent children in care being “sucked into the criminal justice system for trivial reasons”.
He highlighted how the work done by the county council and police has reduced the number of looked-after children in the criminal justice system yearly since 2011.
It comes after Prime Minister David Cameron promised to transform the lives of children in care, with last week’s Queen’s Speech revealing a care leavers’ covenant.
Linda Kemeny, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Educational Achievement, said: “Our programme is having a big impact in diverting young people in care away from crime and stopping them committing offences and Lord Laming is clearly impressed with the excellent work we’re doing.”
Surrey Police’s T/Deputy Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said: “We are proud that our work with looked after children over the last five years has dramatically reduced their likelihood of becoming involved in the criminal justice system, and delighted that this good practice has been recognised in the report.
“Prevention is always better than cure, but when offences are committed our approach is focused on helping young people to face the consequences of their actions, getting the best outcome for victims and restoring any harm done.”
In the video below the county council’s Head of Youth Support Services Ben Byrne explains Surrey’s approach.