Since entering Parliament, Lucy has repeatedly raised concerns about the increasing number of children in care. Recently published figures show there are now 78,150 children in care.
This is an increase of 21% over the last 10 years. Ministers have committed to prioritising adoption. Lucy is campaigning for to ensure government considers the individual circumstances and needs of each child and recognises the role of kinship care and long term foster care as well as working to re-establish family ties where it is safe to do so. Lucy believes that adoption can only meet the needs of a small number of children and that increasing the number of adoptions does little to reduce the numbers of children in the care system.
As a long-term family rights campaigner, this is one of Lucy’s priorities in this parliament. She took the opportunity to raise her concerns directly with the Minister at Education Questions on Monday, 20th January asking "what assessment he has made of trends in the number of children entering the care system."
Any work to improve the quality of care for children by the state should come hand-in-hand with measures to strengthen families and ensure that parents and guardians are fully supported by the government and local authorities.
Lucy said: “since becoming an MP in 2015 I have championed children in care at every opportunity. I want to improve their outcomes and I have pressed government on multiple occasions to take action to reduce the numbers of children taken into care. There is so much more than can be done to ensure children can stay safely at home or with wider family members. I am pleased that there will now be a comprehensive review of the care system. I have called for this review for a number of years. This is a much-neglected area and reform is long overdue.”
The full text of Lucy’s question to the Department for Education can be found online here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-01-20/debates/EA1A4CF8-43F5-4CD1-9AC0-F9A38C2954CE/ChildrenEnteringTheCareSystem#contribution-E513D5D8-BDD7-47EF-89AF-1015949EA914