Every child Matters social development : Social Development

Every child Matters social development

Of Social Development to

In 2003, the government published a Green Paper called Every Child Matters. This was published alongside the formal response to the report into the death of Victoria Climbié, the young girl who was horrifically abused, tortured, and eventually killed by her great aunt and the man with whom they lived. The Every Child Matters (ECM) Green Paper identified the five outcomes that are most important to children and young people, which include being healthy, staying safe, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and achieving economic well-being. These five outcomes are universal ambitions for every child and young person, whatever their background and circumstances (DfES, 2003). The outcomes are mutually reinforcing, for example “children and young people learn to thrive when they are healthy, safe and engaged, and the evidence shows clearly that educational achievement is the most effective route out of poverty” (DfES, 2003). Therefore in this essay I am going to critically evaluate the current legislation, policies and procedures that impact on looked-after children (LAC) with reference to two of the five ECM outcomes: being healthy and enjoying and achieving.


Under the Children Act 1989, a child is looked after by a local authority if he/she is in their care or provided with accommodation for more than 24 hours by the local authority. This includes children who are accommodated under a voluntary agreement with their parents (section 20), children who are the subject of a care order (section 31) or interim care order (section 38) and children who are the subject of emergency orders (section 44) (opsi.gov.uk).

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) national statistics for LAC in England (including adoption and care leavers) for the year ending 31 March 2009 noted that there were approximately 60, 900 LAC, which is 2% more than last year’s figure of 59, 400 and relatively unchanged compared to 2005 (61, 000). The majority (73%) of children were of White British origin, with the remaining 27 per cent being from a variety of other ethnic backgrounds (DCSF, 2009). The majority of LAC – 73 per cent – are looked after by foster carers, with 1 in 6 of these placed with family and friends. A small number of children (290 in 2007) live in secure children’s homes, either as ‘welfare’ placements or placed by the Youth Justice Board. Nearly a third of children (30%) are placed outside of their local authority boundary, although around half of these still live within 20 miles of their home. This has implications for how services are commissioned for these children. The government therefore developed policies and legislation which highlight a drive towards significantly improving the future outcomes of all LAC.

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