The Case for Change

Another step forward in transforming children’s experience of the care system

Today, the Children’s Social Care Review in England has launched its first report, ‘The Case for Change’, which sets out its analysis of the key challenges across the children’s social care system. The report draws on the wealth of evidence heard by the Review team from over 700 individuals with lived experience of the social care system and 300 families, social workers, carers and professionals who work with children and families. The report covers a huge range of areas across the system, reflecting the broad and ambitious scope of the Review. Josh MacAlister describes the system in his foreword as “a 30-year-old tower of Jenga held together with Sellotape”, highlighting that for too long the system has been tweaked and modified through reviews and reform attempts, with policy changes often acting only as sticking plasters on a system that has much deeper, structural issues. Here at Home for Good we are committed to helping remove the barriers that prevent or discourage families and individuals from adopting, fostering or offering supported lodging, in order to ensure that we find a home for every child that needs one. This wide-ranging Review has the potential to transform children’s social care, and we are delighted to see a number of references to Home for Good’s work and priorities in this interim report.

The report focuses on several of Home for Good’s priorities for change, highlighting the distinct and significant role of deprivation and ethnicity as inequalities that increase the likelihood of social care intervention. We welcome the inclusion of further evidence highlighting the reality of racial disparity across the system and look forward to supporting the Review in building on the existing research to develop robust solutions to these challenges. In addition, we welcome the report’s focus on another of our key priorities: teenagers and the challenges that young people face within the system, which is failing to meet their needs. We have identified a serious lack of provision for this growing cohort and are working to consider how we might increase the options available to them. It is crucial that family-based settings are top of the list for these vulnerable young people.

We are delighted to see that the report highlights the inimitable impact of stable, loving relationships. It highlights that the State is no replacement for these key relationships, suggesting that “many of the current problems we see in the care system are symptomatic of the state trying and failing to provide a relationship as a service”. We welcome the Review’s commitment to exploring how, instead, the State could enable lifelong loving relationships for children in care. The report calls for the system corporately to step up and become the “pushy parent” our children need and to fight for them to receive the support they need to reach their potential. At Home for Good we hear daily the stories of the many families and carers who do this already, and we welcome this call for all those involved in children’s lives to carry this same determination, placing the child’s best interests at the very centre of every decision.

We are pleased to see the emphasis throughout the report on lifelong relationships and believe passionately that communities, including churches, are key places for developing lifelong relationships, connection and belonging for children and young people. We hope that the next phase of the Review will keep this lifelong vision in mind, and we stand ready to support the Review in developing solutions to enable every child to have a family or tribe to belong to, for life.

Critically, the report identifies the need for more stable homes to be available in the right places, with carers and families with the right skills to welcome children who are unable to remain living with their birth families. We are delighted that this issue has been raised in the report; Home for Good is committed to enabling more people to foster, adopt and offer supported lodging, and we are looking forward to continuing to work with the Review to identify the role that faith communities can play in meeting this need.

‘The Case for Change’ sets out a clear and unavoidable choice: unquestionably the system desperately needs greater investment, but Government must decide whether this investment is spent on “reform which achieves long term sustainability and better outcomes” or propping up an “increasingly expensive and inadequate existing system.” The right choice is clear, and Home for Good is committed to working with the Review to ensure that the system is improved so that every child has the opportunity to thrive in a safe, stable and loving home.

Additional Information about the report:

The Review have published a simplified version of the report which can be viewed here.

The Review are undertaking a range of events, focus groups, workshops and webinars to seek feedback on the Case for Change. To get involved and to find out more about the opportunities available, please visit the Review’s website here.

The report outlines a series of questions at the end of each chapter which ask for feedback on the report’s explanation of the issues outlined and seek views on some of the ways in which the arguments outlined might be taken forward. Home for Good will be preparing a response to these questions in due course.

Author:
Home for Good


Date published:
17 June 2021


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