Inequalities in the proportions of children from different ethnic groups in the care system must be urgently investigated to ensure services are socially just and fit for purpose and resources are used effectively, academics have said.

A study led by Paul Bywaters, a professor at the University of Huddersfield, found ‘White British’ children are more than 10 times more likely than ‘Asian Indian’ children to be in care. Meanwhile ‘Black Caribbean’ children are 20 times more likely. The disparity can be partly explained by communities’ vastly different exposures to high levels of deprivation. Three quarters of children from Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Caribbean and African backgrounds live in the most disadvantaged 40% of neighbourhoods, the research found. But significant inequalities remain even when such factors are not in play, said Bywaters, who added that understanding the reasons why must become a priority for the government.

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