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Our response to the Care Review’s ‘Call for Ideas’

Monday 10 January 2022
Child Social Care

The Care Review should be the starting pistol for a new era of children’s social care

The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care is the latest in a line of government reviews into how we can best protect our most vulnerable children.

We are optimistic about the benefits this could bring for the children and families we work with. But we recognise that change will not happen overnight.

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We hope we will look back on this Review and judge it on two key legacies.

1. We need renewed energy for early intervention

Too often, we wait for children to be harmed before they are offered help. Over the last decade, the pendulum has swung away from early intervention. The children’s social care has become an increasingly costly crisis response service.

This is not what children and families want, nor is it the best way to keep our vulnerable children safe.

We think the Care Review should recommend:

  • A new legal duty for local authorities to provide family help services, available to children and families before they are ‘in need’.
  • More funding to be made available to support family help.
  • A national outcomes framework to set standards and measure progress.
  • More thorough inspection of local authority family help services.

2. We need to support the whole family to thrive

Time and time again, children in care have told us they want to maintain safe and loving relationships with their families. There is no conflict between supporting families to manage their issues and protecting children from harm – our system should be designed to do both.

We think the Care Review should recommend: 

  • Local authorities provide more support to the families of looked after children. This should help them manage their issues and work towards reunification.
  • The government publish guidance and standards on reunification for children in care, so they have the best chance of safely returning to their families.