Children who spend time in care are more likely to have an official record of offending behaviour than the general population. However, there is a lack of longitudinal research on the timing, severity and volume of offending in relation to time spent in and out of care. Furthermore, differences in patterns of offending by identifiable groups in care are rarely a focus of research. The current study is both longitudinal and identifies eight groups within the care population with different volumes of recorded offending: ranging from a mean of 41.75 (prolific) to 1.60 (low). Substance misuse, gender and reasons for referral to care were associated with different patterns of offending in and out of care. The study is primarily based on a sub-sample of 64 children who had offended whilst in care. The sub- sample represents 38.5% of a cohort of children who had been in care or were taken into care over a particular time period (2008-2011) in one local authority. The placements and recorded offences of the 64 children were tracked for a further two years (2011-2013). The study highlights future areas of research and the need for more tailored responses to different groups within the care system.
- children in care system
- young offenders
- young people (well-being of in care
- youth justice