§ CRITERIA FOR MAKING CARE ORDERS
- (a)in subsection (7) (under which a court has power to make a care order where a child is found guilty of homicide or a young person is found guilty of any imprisonable offence) after the word "Subject" there shall be inserted the words "to subsection (7A) of this section and " ; and
- (b)the following subsection shall be inserted after that subsection—
(7A) A court shall not make a care order under subsection (7) of this section in respect of a child or young person unless it is of opinion—
- (a)that a care order is appropriate because of the seriousness of the offence; and
- (b)that the child or young person is in need of care or control which he is unlikely to receive unless the court makes a care order."."
§ Mr. Mayhew
I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.
The amendment introduces into the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 criteria for the making of care orders on juvenile offenders who are sentenced in criminal proceedings. It was moved by my noble Friend on Report in the other place. It is not quite in the same terms as the amendment proposed, in Committee by the parliamentary all-party penal affairs group, but its purpose is the same as that amendment.
Section 7 of the 1969 Act already provides that the juvenile must have been found guilty of an imprisonable offence before a care order is made. Under this amendment, a court would not be able to make a care order unless it was of the opinion that such an order was appropriate because of the seriousness of the offence. In addition, it is necessary that the care or control test now used in care proceedings should be satisfied—that is, the court must be of the opinion that the child or young person is in need of care or control which he is unlikely to receive unless the court makes a care order. The 1969 Act provides that in the expression "care or control", "care" includes protection and guidance and "control" includes discipline.
The amendment thus introduces a twofold test in terms which are consonant with the existing provisions of the 1969 Act and which, with its reference to the seriousness 558 of the offence, is in accord with the guidelines for custodial sentences which have been introduced into the Bill.
§ Mr. Kilroy-Silk
I welcome the amendment. In a similar way to the previous amendment it provides that before a care order is made in criminal proceedings the court must consider that the order is appropriate because of the seriousness of the offence and that the child needs care or control that he would not otherwise receive. The amendment was brought forward by the Government in response to a similar amendment proposed in another place by members of the parliamentary all-party penal affairs group, as the Minister said.
As has been said many times, the system of care orders in criminal proceedings is one of the many injustices in dealing with young offenders. An increasing body of research evidence. much of it collected by Professor Norman Tutt and his colleagues at Lancaster university, some of which was referred to earlier by the hon. and learned Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Lyell), demonstrates that most young offenders receive care orders to local authority residential establishments unnecessarily and inappropriately. Department of Health and Social Security research shows that most care orders made in criminal proceedings are for young people convicted of petty property offences with few, if any, previous convictions. About 40 per cent. are imposed on first offenders and 60 per cent. on first and second time offenders.
The amendment will ensure that in future care orders are imposed not for minor offences, but only when there is a genuine need for care and control.
§ Question put and agreed to.