HC Deb 27 November 2002 vol 395 c347W
Mr. Paul Marsden

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the likelihood of children in care being convicted and sent to prison as young adults. [82749]

Jacqui Smith

Our latest data show that 10.4 per cent. of children between 10 and 17, who have been in the care of the local authority for a year or more, have received a reprimand, final warning or conviction. This represents a rate that is three times greater than for all children. Hence, the Department has a public service agreement target to narrow the gap in offending between the looked after children and their peers.

The achievement of this target is underpinned by the Quality Protects programme, which has been supported by a grant of £885 million over five years from 1999 to 2004. This major programme seeks to ensure that looked after children gain the maximum life chance benefits from educational opportunities, health care and social care and thus have the same opportunities as their peers to lead fulfilling lives.