Care Review in England publishes final report: Home for Good’s response

Today, the independent Review of Children’s Social Care, chaired by former CEO of Frontline Josh MacAlister, has published its long-awaited final report.

Care Review in England publishes final report: Home for Good’s response

Today, the independent Review of Children’s Social Care, chaired by former CEO of Frontline Josh MacAlister, has published its long-awaited final report which concludes the 14-month review across the system. Making nearly 50 recommendations to Government, the review calls for a ‘reset’ as it identifies that the care system operates largely in a mode of crisis response, rather than investing in families, including foster families and kinship carers, in strengthening those who love and care for children. It calls on Government to invest £2.6billion over the next five years as part of an Implementation project to see this reset embedded.

Relationships at the heart

The driving thrust of the final report is an emphasis on the importance and transformative ability of relationships – in their many forms – to enable children and families to be better supported and to thrive. The report sets out:

Achieving this reset starts with recognising that it is loving relationships that hold the solutions for children and families overcoming adversity.[1]

Home for Good endorses this emphasis. We have witnessed firsthand the impact on children as foster carers, adoptive parents, supported lodgings hosts and churches have stepped up to be the family and ‘village’ that children need when they are unable to remain living with birth families.

Recruiting more foster carers

Whilst there is a right emphasis on doing more to enable children to remain living with birth family members wherever possible, we also welcome the report’s assertion that there will always be some children for whom coming into care is the only and best option for them. The report recognises that there is a current shortage of suitable homes ready and waiting to care for these children and calls on Government to launch a three-year national recruitment campaign to find 9,000 more foster families. Although we support this initiative, we also recognise that there are barriers within the system that are unnecessarily preventing many individuals interested in fostering from making it through the process. Recruitment alone will not solve this issue but Home for Good is resolved to work with Government to remove these barriers and find a home for every child who needs one.

A focus on supported lodgings

We strongly welcome the Review’s recognition of the value of supported lodgings and are delighted that our report, Brimming with potential,[2] is referenced within the report. We believe that supported lodgings is ideally placed to offer stability and support to older teenagers in care. Home for Good will continue to take this work forward through our ‘Ready to Launch’ campaign, which is seeking to double the number of supported lodgings hosts across England to enable more young people to be offered this option to enable them to be ready to launch into adulthood and their futures.

Tackling racial disparity

We welcome the work that the Review has done to investigate and look into the issue of racial and ethnic disparities as it occurs right across the system. Before the Review commenced, Home for Good convened an Open Letter which had the backing of over 24,000 individuals and highlighted to the Review the reality that children from particular ethnic backgrounds were facing disadvantage within the system, either through being overrepresented in the system as a whole or being underrepresented within some permanence options, including adoption. As a result of our Open Letter, the Chair committed that the Review would take this issue forward and has published a separate report[3] alongside the final Review report which outlines their work on this issue and the way in which the recommendations made throughout will have particular bearing on children and families from minority ethnic backgrounds. We are particularly pleased to see that two of our recommendations on the issue of racial disparity have been taken up – improving the cultural competence among all those who work within the system and improving the depth and analysis of data collected by Government to enable current patterns to be monitored and analysed robustly.

The unique role of the Church

In January 2022, Home for Good published a joint report, titled More than Sundays[4] with the charity Safe Families which set out a case that faith communities are well-placed as one particular community, to play a larger role in supporting children and families. Today’s report sets out a need for greater community involvement in creating and developing services to support children and families and references the work of our two organisations as great examples of how this can work in practice.

Responding to the Review’s final report, CEO of Home for Good Tania Bright commented:

With the number of children coming into care rising year-on-year, the need for safe and loving homes for these children and young people is growing. We have seen countless individuals and families step forward from the Church over the past eight years and believe passionately that the Church can play a larger role in meeting these needs. We are delighted that the Review has recognised this and we are committed to continuing to work with Government and local authorities to harness these communities, in order to better serve children and their families.

Everyone has a part to play

The Review identifies that “The disadvantage faced by the care experienced community should be the civil rights issue of our time. Children in care are powerless, are often invisible and they face some of the greatest inequalities that exist in England today.[5] But there is hope. Within the foreword, the Chair of the Review calls for response, not just from Government, but from all of us, saying “At the heart of the review’s vision is the idea that all of us, citizens through to the government and businesses, are part of the solution.”[6]

Speaking about the next steps for the Review, Tania Bright outlined:

There is much to celebrate within this report, including the emphasis on relationships for young people. However, the work begins now. This report must be turned into action and we will continue to work closely with Government and the Review team to ensure these recommendations are taken forward and that every child is provided with a safe, stable and loving home.

---------------------------------

[1] The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care: Final Report. May 2022. Executive Summary. Available online.

[2] Home for Good. 2021. Brimming with potential: the case for supported lodgings. Available online.

[3] The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care. May 2022. Racial and ethnic disparities in children’s social care. Available online.

[4] Home for Good and Safe Families. More than Sundays: realizing the potential of local church communities in supporting children and families. January 2022. Available online.

[5] The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care: Final report. May 2022. Page 10

[6] The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care: Final report. May 2022. Page 5

Author:
Home for Good


Date published:
23 May 2022


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