News OVER CHILDREN IN CARE
to follow suit and I’m calling on other major employers in our city who have their head offices based here, as ultimately these are our Coventry children, and with the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, employers are busy developing their apprenticeship schemes, but how many are allocating apprentices specifically for care leavers and how are employers across the city working together to ensure the apprenticeship levy isn’t just going into the Treasury as a tax.
“For me the real strength of any society is to give a helping hand, and the greatest wealth and strength of any city is its youth, which is one of the main reasons as to why we won the City of Culture.
“We know our children have been presented with a poor start in early life and we have to positively discriminate to create the pendulum effect if we’re ever to redress the balance.
“So, for example, we as a council took the decision to exempt care leavers from paying council tax between the ages of 18 to 21 because we know care leavers are generally more economically disadvantaged.”
The county’s figures are similar to those in Coventry with just 70 of the 700 youngsters in care across Warwickshire (10 per cent) set to be adopted.
A conviction or caution for a crime will come to four per cent of children in care, while just one per cent of all children in Warwickshire were proven to have committed an offence.
It is also grim reading for those leaving care with 38 per cent of 17 or 18-year-olds not in education, training or employment, while that number rises to 53 per cent for those aged 19-21.
Beth Murray, director of Catch22 – a national charity that works with care leavers and young offenders – said: “Children in care in the West Midlands are not twice as likely to commit a crime, but they may well be twice as likely to be reported for one.
“A child that breaks a window in their family home might expect to be grounded, or have their pocket money docked.
“A child in a children’s home could see this reported to the police as damage to property. Once a child is on the police radar, any further incidents are dealt with more severely.”