National charity for children in care and young care leavers responds to Independent Review of Children’s Social Care and urges Government to put care-experienced young people at the centre of reform.
Become, the national charity for children in care and young care leavers, acknowledges the importance of today’s final report from the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care – and welcomes the recognition that the current care system is not working for too many children and young people.
Reform of children’s social care is sorely needed – and the review identifies many of the right problems. For many years, Become has called for relationships to be at the centre of the care system and we are pleased that the Review recognises the importance of loving and caring relationships in ensuring that every child can thrive.
There are elements of the Review that could make a real difference to children in the care system. Become hope that the proposed new Care Standards will ensure that every child, no matter their age or where they live, gets the care and support they need. It also identifies steps towards ending the ‘Care Cliff’ that too many young people experience when they turn 18 and are expected to become ‘independent’ overnight, often well before they feel ready.
However, the national charity, which has worked alongside and championed care-experienced young people for 30 years, has concerns about some of the Review’s recommendations.
The Review proposes a major re-organisation of the way that the homes children in the care system live in are funded and run, moving this responsibility away from local authorities to new regional bodies. Become is worried this could move decision making further away from children and young people and the people that know them best.
Become also has concerns about proposals to reduce the amount of independent scrutiny of the decisions that social workers make about the care and support children in the care system receive. Whilst the current system could undoubtedly be improved, checks and balances are necessary and play an important role in keeping children safe. They should not be abandoned lightly.
Katharine Sacks-Jones, Chief Executive of Become, the national charity for children in care and young care leavers, says:
“We currently have a care system which is not fit for purpose and has become overwhelmed to crisis point, with more children in care than ever before. The review provides a rare opportunity to shine a spotlight on a system which is failing too many children and young people.
The review rightly identifies an urgent need for reform, and we welcome calls for lifelong loving relationships to be at the heart of care.
There are some proposals which could make a real difference to children’s lives, including around support for those leaving care. However, we have concerns about some of the recommendations which we fear could move decision-making further away from children and the people who know them best and remove some of the important checks and balances in the system.
Now, it is imperative that the government set out how they will consult with care-experienced young people on these reforms. To effectively improve children’s lives and radically transform the care system, the government must also provide the funding and resources needed.
Become is committed to improving the lives of children in care and care leavers – it is what we exist to do. We will continue to push hard for reform that is long-term, sustainable and in the best interests of children and young people.”
The charity campaigned for a review of the care system since before the commitment was included in the 2019 Conservative manifesto and collaborated across the sector to encourage recommendations that are bold, ambitious, and bravely tackle the root issues of England’s failing care system.
For more information, please contact Amy Grant, Communications Manager at Become: [email protected] / 07951 155367
Become is the national charity for children in care and young care leavers. Formerly known as The Who Cares? Trust, Become has been supporting and campaigning for children in care and young care leavers since 1992. Become’s mission is to improve the everyday lives and future life chances of children in care and young care leavers.