Rachael Maskell MP holding the Children in Care report
Rachael Maskell MP holding the Children in Care report

As a member of the Child of the North All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), MP Rachael Maskell is calling for urgent action to respond to the findings of the report, Children in Care in the North of England, published today.

The report highlights how 93 children per 10,000 children are in the care system in the North compared to the UK average of 62 children. Today 83,840 children find themselves in the care system up 30% since 2010. Tragically these children are more likely to face poorer outcomes throughout life, including in education, in work with lower incomes and left with poor housing. They are also likely to have poorer mental and physical health and die prematurely. Most importantly, the report highlights the correlation between poverty and children ending up in the care system, further exacerbated for children from minoritised communities, twice as likely to be in the care system.

In 2021, the UK was flagged by UNICEF as being the worst for growth in child poverty, and in 2022, Josh McAlister published his report, The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care in order to give these children the very best of services and to ensure that more children stayed with their families. The report called for £2.6bn to ensure families got the support they needed and were kept safe. The Government responded with just £200m for two programmes, of which only one authority, Hartlepool, was based in the North.

Now we see increasing numbers of children placed in the hands of the state, and more worryingly in privately funded children’s homes. Without radical reform, this is expected to rise by 30,000 by 2032. Shockingly the 20 largest independent providers of children’s care made £310m in profit for the last audited financial year from their income of £1.63bn from local authorities. This is a national scandal since this funding could be better spent on local services.

However, support is possible, addressing the structural causes of inequality will give these families and children a chance of a fresh start.

Rachael Maskell MP says:
“This is a very important report which reflects the Government’s failure to address child poverty, now over 4.3m, and investing in vital services for children. Local authorities are struggling to balance the books, after significant funding cuts, and yet have the responsibility to ensure that all children are safe. I congratulate City of York Council for their work in stabilising the social care workforce, and I know that they are focused on providing the support that families need.

“I am deeply concerned that we know the issues, we know what needs to be done, and yet Government have not prioritised the most vulnerable children, especially in the North as this report highlights. If the causes of poverty were addressed, then we know these families would be far safer. Simple measures like lifting the 2-child limit, benefits cap and ensuring that the living wage was paid at a rate which would lift Britain’s 14.5m people out of poverty would give children, especially in the North, the opportunity to thrive and have the childhood that every child deserves.”


The Child of the North APPG Children in Care Report is available here:

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