Become welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to the Education Committee’s inquiry into the children’s social care workforce.
We particularly welcome the Committee’s decision to include a specific set of questions for those with lived experience of children’s social care. It's crucial that care-experienced people of all ages are encouraged and supported to contribute their experiential expertise in order to improve the care system for all and provide every young person in and leaving care with the stability, support and love they deserve.
Given Become’s role amplifying the voices of children in care and young care leavers, we opted to respond specifically to these questions based on what we hear from young people in care through our direct support work, research and listening activity, whilst also commenting where appropriate on wider inquiry questions relating to the capacity of the social care workforce.
- In order to do their job properly, young people want their social workers to have a strong understanding of what it means to be in care and to establish good relationships with other key adults in their lives (such as foster carers and teachers).
- Children in care are acutely aware of the pressures facing social workers in their practice. They want them to have manageable caseloads and good support from the local authority to enable them to stay in post for longer.
- Current paperwork and other requirements placed on social workers are sometimes seen by young people as restricting their capacity to deliver high-quality support.
- Young people in care want their social workers to listen to them carefully, communicate with them appropriately and often, and help them have their voices heard in decisions made about their lives.
- Supporting the development of positive relationships – with their social worker and their peers, family members and others – is seen as a crucial area of good social work practice by young people.