Headlines: July 13th, 2001

The Social Exclusion Unit is to attempt to tackle one of the unsolved social problems that appears to cry out for a bit of joined up working.The SEU, based in the Cabinet Office, is to attempt to find out why it is that more than two thirds of children in care leave care at 16 with no qualifications at all, compared to only six percent of all children.

Care leavers are significantly more likely to be socially excluded – a quarter of all prisoners have been in care and up to a third of rough sleepers have been in care.

The Government introduced Quality Protects to overhaul children’s services as a whole as well as issuing specific guidance on the education of young people and children in public care. The SEU’s project will build on these existing policies. Key features of existing guidance include personal education plans for all young people in care, designated teachers to be a resource and advocate for children in public care in school, and information sharing between schools, local education authorities and social services.

The SEU’s consultation takes in social services departments, education authorities, schools, carers, young people in care, care leavers, children’s charities and business.

As well as the formal consultation, the Social Exclusion Unit project team is carrying out six in-depth studies of particular local authority areas alongside a series of visits to projects to help identify best practice.

The consultation document can be downloaded at www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/seu

The final report will be published in 2002.