Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Monday, 12 December 2011

Sexual exploitation of young people

Kinship care for children at risk of being put into homes should be developed in Northern Ireland, the assembly heard on 12 December 2011.

Judith Cochrane of the Alliance Party was joined in support by Jim Wells of the DUP in advocating for the development of kinship care, where a child removed from their immediate family is put in the care of another relative instead of a care home.

Sinn Fein's Jennifer McCann, moving the motion, said over 53% of young people in care were found to be at risk of sexual exploitation by a recent report by Barnardos, in comparison to 6.5% in foster care and 10.7% of children living at home.

The UUP's John McCallister called for kinship care to be considered as part of pending adoption legislation.

Health Minister Edwin Poots said that his department was working on a range of strategies to deal with the issue of vulnerable young people which would be published early in 2012, including standards for kinship care.

The motion, amended by the SDLP calling for cross-border co-operation on the issue, was passed.

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