Our response to the ‘Case for Change’ report

Friday 20 August 2021
Outdoor portrait of smiling adolescent girl in woodland area

What should a future care system look like? We respond to the questions posed by the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care

The ongoing Independent Review of Children's Social Care is a once in a generation opportunity to create a care system that works for all children. We have worked with young people and our frontline staff to respond to some big questions posed by the Review’s ‘Case for Change’ report.

Read our full response

All children should grow up in safe and loving homes

We asked care-experienced young people to tell us what a good care system would look like to them.

We heard they want to be 'trusted' and 'known' by the professionals in their life. They want to live a normal life and feel loved.

Their responses highlight that this review must ensure all its recommendations focus on creating a care system that respects young people and their identities. It should involve them meaningfully in important decisions.

Local authorities need more funding to support families

Evidence shows that early access to key family support services prevents children from suffering greater harm. Early-stage services are also great value for money when compared to the help available at the point of crisis .

Despite this, funding for ‘family help’ services are being cut. Our recent research found that spending on early-stage services for families has fallen by 48% over the last decade.

As a result, children are left waiting to be harmed before they are offered help.

We are calling for Government to restore funding for family help services to pre-austerity levels. They must also create a new legal duty and outcome framework to support local authorities to deliver these services.

Local Authorities should prioritise kinship and foster care placements, where possible

When a child cannot live with their birth family, responsibility lies with the Local Authority to place them in a home that meets their needs.

We have recommended that kinship and foster care placements should be considered, where appropriate, before a child is placed in a children's home.

However, for some children, residential care in a children's home is the best (or only) option. In these cases, Local Authorities must ensure that the children's home can meet the specific needs of the child before the placement is made.

We need to help reunite families after a child spends time in care

When a child returns to their birth parents after spending time in care, it can be a difficult time for a family. This process is called 'reunification' and is an often overlooked part of the care system.

There is a wide variety of reunification practices across the country, but little central guidance on the best practice. To tackle this, we have recommended that the Government publish national guidance on how to support families before, during and after reunification.