Together Trust responds to the Case for Change
In June, the Independent Children's Social Care Review published it's first report, the Case for Change. Together Trust has contributed to the Care Review in a number of ways:
- Attended four roundtable discussions covering children’s rights, residential care, disabled children and their families, children in care and care leavers
- Two meetings with the review team
- Submissions to the call for advice and call for evidence.
We welcome the opportunity to respond to the Case for Change. Rather than answer every question posed we have given feedback where we have experience and knowledge as a charity working in children's social care. Read our full response.
The purpose of children’s social care
We believe the the Children’s Act 1989 is very clear on the purpose of children's social care but we call for the full implementation of the UNCRC in England to ensure children’s rights are respected and upheld.
We welcomed the Review’s acknowledgement of the power of strong community networks but believe there needs to be significant investment in a national campaign to challenge stigma.
The Case for Change does not go far enough to forensically investigate the impact of austerity cuts on children’s social care budgets or the chronic underfunding of community-based services. Departments across government must have the shared resource and collective accountability to help families to thrive.
Keeping families together
The Case for Change fails to recognise that good residential care practice supports families, rather than break them. Wrap around and holistic offers of short breaks, therapeutic support and community outreach services for children and families experiencing potential family breakdowns, neglect and family dysfunction would undoubtably help avoid unnecessary care episodes.
We want to see children in residential care have the same rights as children in foster care. We fully support the Every Child Leaving Care Matters campaign, and we would like to see staying close options extended to the age of 25.
The Case for Change has failed to consider the integration with adult social care. If it does not, there is a considerable risk that disabled children and their families will experience challenging transitions.
We are incredibly disappointed and disheartened by the Case for Change’s stance on unregulated accommodation. It fails to recognise the implications of formalising a two-tier care system.
Care that is good enough for all our children
We welcomed the Review’s recognition that children’s social care does not match up with family life in Britain today, this mirrors our own research.
Good quality care needs to have the young person at the centre with agencies and professionals working to uphold their rights, meet their needs and champion their ambitions.
The Review misses the mark on strengthening and supporting residential care support workers. We need to enhance the profile and standing of those roles to support the recruitment and retention of a sustainable workforce for our children.
Right homes in the right places
Children need to be part of their own communities unless it is not safe for them. Local authorities should have the resources to be responsive and take a place-based approach to end profit-making in children’s social care.