2. DISPATCHES: PROFITING FROM KIDS IN CARE
Channel 4, Thursday 25 November, 9pm
In 2004, caring for Britain’s most vulnerable children is a multi- million pound industry. Children in care cost the taxpayer over £830 million pounds a year. That’s an average of £2,500 per child, per week – more than four times what it would cost to send a child to Eton. Yet many homes are failing to provide children with even a basic standard of care.
In this programme, Dispatches goes undercover to investigate the consequences of the increased privatisation of residential children’s homes. The investigation reveals how homes are run by private businessmen charging social services departments enormous and unethical mark-ups on services – many of which aren’t even provided. Fees of £7,000 a week are not unusual yet Dispatches finds private children’s homes which are failing the children in many respects. Homes often use untrained, and sometimes unvetted, agency staff to look after some of the UK’s most at risk youngsters – many of whom have been the victims of abuse, prostitution and drugs.
The current system is failing thousands of children a year. According to a recent report, three in five kids leave care with no qualifications at all. One in five will be homeless after two years and one in three of the current prison population has previously been in care. Tragically, some don’t make it at all, with approximately 60 youngsters dying in children’s homes every year.
Information, advice and support for people who are in care, or have been in the past, can be found by checking out the following organisations and websites.