Looking after Children in the UK: Convergence or Divergence?

Janice McGhee, Lisa Bunting, Claire Mccartan, Martin Elliott, Paul Bywaters, Brigid Featherstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Comparative child welfare administrative data from each of the four jurisdictions of the UK (Scotland, England, Northern Ireland (NI) and Wales) were analysed over a ten-year period to examine rates and patterns of public care. Scotland followed by Wales has the highest rates of children in out-of-home care, followed by England and NI with similar lower proportions. Despite strong links between deprivation and higher chances of becoming looked after, this national variation appears more a reflection of differing legal and operational practice than higher levels of need for public care. Notwithstanding differing devolution settlements, a convergence in the direction of policy across the UK towards early intervention, extensive use of kinship care and adoption as an exit route from public care is apparent. This convergence is most apparent in the increased entry of very young children to public care in Scotland, NI and Wales. The lack of any systematic collection of data by governments on the social and economic conditions of children reflects a missed opportunity to examine separately their influence on rates of children in public care.

LanguageEnglish
Pages1176-1198
Number of pages23
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Volume48
Issue number5
Early online date17 Oct 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018

Fingerprint

Northern Ireland
divergence
Wales
Scotland
England
Foster Home Care
Social Conditions
Home Care Services
Child Welfare
Economics
home care
child welfare
kinship
deprivation
decentralization
jurisdiction
lack
economics

Cite this

McGhee, Janice ; Bunting, Lisa ; Mccartan, Claire ; Elliott, Martin ; Bywaters, Paul ; Featherstone, Brigid. / Looking after Children in the UK : Convergence or Divergence?. In: British Journal of Social Work. 2018 ; Vol. 48, No. 5. pp. 1176-1198.
@article{2dee55978c374cd2807ea3d214cb12be,
title = "Looking after Children in the UK: Convergence or Divergence?",
abstract = "Comparative child welfare administrative data from each of the four jurisdictions of the UK (Scotland, England, Northern Ireland (NI) and Wales) were analysed over a ten-year period to examine rates and patterns of public care. Scotland followed by Wales has the highest rates of children in out-of-home care, followed by England and NI with similar lower proportions. Despite strong links between deprivation and higher chances of becoming looked after, this national variation appears more a reflection of differing legal and operational practice than higher levels of need for public care. Notwithstanding differing devolution settlements, a convergence in the direction of policy across the UK towards early intervention, extensive use of kinship care and adoption as an exit route from public care is apparent. This convergence is most apparent in the increased entry of very young children to public care in Scotland, NI and Wales. The lack of any systematic collection of data by governments on the social and economic conditions of children reflects a missed opportunity to examine separately their influence on rates of children in public care.",
keywords = "Looked after children, Out-of-home care, Child welfare, Deprivation, Child protection, Childcare",
author = "Janice McGhee and Lisa Bunting and Claire Mccartan and Martin Elliott and Paul Bywaters and Brigid Featherstone",
year = "2018",
month = "7",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1093/bjsw/bcx103",
language = "English",
volume = "48",
pages = "1176--1198",
journal = "British Journal of Social Work",
issn = "0045-3102",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "5",

}

Looking after Children in the UK : Convergence or Divergence? / McGhee, Janice ; Bunting, Lisa; Mccartan, Claire; Elliott, Martin; Bywaters, Paul; Featherstone, Brigid.

In: British Journal of Social Work, Vol. 48, No. 5, 01.07.2018, p. 1176-1198.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Looking after Children in the UK

T2 - British Journal of Social Work

AU - McGhee, Janice

AU - Bunting, Lisa

AU - Mccartan, Claire

AU - Elliott, Martin

AU - Bywaters, Paul

AU - Featherstone, Brigid

PY - 2018/7/1

Y1 - 2018/7/1

N2 - Comparative child welfare administrative data from each of the four jurisdictions of the UK (Scotland, England, Northern Ireland (NI) and Wales) were analysed over a ten-year period to examine rates and patterns of public care. Scotland followed by Wales has the highest rates of children in out-of-home care, followed by England and NI with similar lower proportions. Despite strong links between deprivation and higher chances of becoming looked after, this national variation appears more a reflection of differing legal and operational practice than higher levels of need for public care. Notwithstanding differing devolution settlements, a convergence in the direction of policy across the UK towards early intervention, extensive use of kinship care and adoption as an exit route from public care is apparent. This convergence is most apparent in the increased entry of very young children to public care in Scotland, NI and Wales. The lack of any systematic collection of data by governments on the social and economic conditions of children reflects a missed opportunity to examine separately their influence on rates of children in public care.

AB - Comparative child welfare administrative data from each of the four jurisdictions of the UK (Scotland, England, Northern Ireland (NI) and Wales) were analysed over a ten-year period to examine rates and patterns of public care. Scotland followed by Wales has the highest rates of children in out-of-home care, followed by England and NI with similar lower proportions. Despite strong links between deprivation and higher chances of becoming looked after, this national variation appears more a reflection of differing legal and operational practice than higher levels of need for public care. Notwithstanding differing devolution settlements, a convergence in the direction of policy across the UK towards early intervention, extensive use of kinship care and adoption as an exit route from public care is apparent. This convergence is most apparent in the increased entry of very young children to public care in Scotland, NI and Wales. The lack of any systematic collection of data by governments on the social and economic conditions of children reflects a missed opportunity to examine separately their influence on rates of children in public care.

KW - Looked after children

KW - Out-of-home care

KW - Child welfare

KW - Deprivation

KW - Child protection

KW - Childcare

UR - https://academic.oup.com/bjsw

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85052668692&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1093/bjsw/bcx103

DO - 10.1093/bjsw/bcx103

M3 - Article

VL - 48

SP - 1176

EP - 1198

JO - British Journal of Social Work

JF - British Journal of Social Work

SN - 0045-3102

IS - 5

ER -