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African families 'devastated by too many children in care'

LEFT OUT: Too many black children in care homes

MORE EFFORT is needed to tackle the overrepresentation of African children and families in the child protection system, a charity says.

Africans United Against Child Abuse (AFRUCA) said more needs to be done to prevent “long-term devastation to African families and affected youngsters.”

The charity has called on the Government to establish a National Working Group to help explore why so many children from an African background end up in care homes.

It also wants to see government officials lead production of a National Action Plan led by government to address the problem.

PARTICIPANTS

At a recent meeting at Parliament, attended by more than a 100 participants, concerns were raised about the huge devastation that the removal of children was having on families and the African community.

“Participants were concerned about the long term impact of children being removed on society at large. A key issue that arose was the link between looked-after-children and young Africans involved in crime and criminality – especially gun and knife crime as well as in gangs,” said AFRUCA, which has developed a new manual on child protection for African children in the UK. It was launched at the event.


ARIYO: Government action needed

Debbie Ariyo, AFRUCA’s director, said: “This was a landmark event addressing a very sensitive issue in our community. Parents who abuse children should not be allowed to go scot-free.

“However, we need to imbibe a ‘carrot and stick’ approach in dealing with child protection cases so children removed from families who have to return home can be free of abuse living happily with their families and not have to return into the care system. There should be more emphasis on prevention and early intervention programmes to deter child abuse and support families experiencing difficulties.”

AFRUCA said it wants to see research to explore the link between child abuse, the looked after system and the growing involvement of young Africans in crime and criminalitY, especially gun and knife crime.

It is also hoping to encourage UK-based Africans to volunteer in areas where they can help to reduce the numbers of children ending up in the child protection system.

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