Child L is the kind of 15-year-old that police, education and social services might consider a problem. He regularly misses school. His teachers find him disruptive and struggle with his behaviour. The BBC reports.
Despite the fact that this child was locked up in a cupboard when he was young, belittled and humiliated by his mother’s partners, he is viewed as the one at fault.
A joint report from inspectors looking at how a range of agencies deal with children and young people says professionals often focus on the behaviour of older children, losing sight of their back stories and that they are vulnerable and in need of affection and support.
The inspections involved staff from Ofsted, HMI Constabulary, HMI Probation and the Care Quality Commission.
They looked at how older children were treated by social, education, health services, and police, probation and offending teams.
It says: “When neglected children present to agencies with a range of problems, such as exhibiting offending behaviour, having suffered exploitation and/or misusing substances or having mental health difficulties or a combination of these many issues, professionals sometimes lose focus on the underlying causes of these problems.”
Older children still need parental care and support. And professionals should be challenging “neglectful” parents.
Yvette Stanley, Ofsted’s national director for social care, said: “Older children are still children and they need our love and care. They face risks outside the home in a way younger children do not and need parents to provide clear boundaries and support on their journey to adulthood.”
A government spokesperson said “We have strengthened our ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ guidance which, for the first time, makes clear the expectations on all agencies to protect young people from exploitation.”
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