A COMMITTEE led by a Gwent AM is to launch a wide-ranging, four-year series of inquiries into the experiences of children in care in Wales.

The Welsh Assembly's Public Accounts Committee, which is chaired by Monmouth's Nick Ramsay, is to carry out the extensive inquiry over the remainder of the current Assembly term.

The first stage of the project will look into how far services deliver value for money for the young people who experience them.

Other stages will look at arrangements around foster care, the role of local authorities and the use of the funding helping schools support deprived children.

Conservative AM Mr Ramsay said: "The Prison Reform Trust recently stated that children and young people with experience of care are ‘significantly over represented in the criminal justice service and in custody’.

"Statistics from 2015 show that 45 percent of care leavers aged 19 were not in education, training or employment.

"This is unacceptable, and we know that their experiences of care contribute to putting them at a disadvantage as they move into adulthood.

"We have taken this unique approach because we think continuous scrutiny is needed to ensure that councils and other public services focus on making improvements.

"Too often these children and young people find that their needs are not prioritised."

The latest figures show there are 90 children in care for every 10,000 people in Wales, significantly higher than in England, where it is 60 per 10,000.

To take part in the first part of the consultation email SeneddPAC@assembly.wales by Friday, September 15.

For more information visit tinyurl.com/y86k5rfu