Northern Ireland announces Independent Review of Children’s Social Care Services

Home for Good's response to the NI Care Review announcement

This weekend, Health Minister Robin Swann has announced that Northern Ireland will be conducting an independent Review of Children’s Social Services, commencing next month. The Review, which is due to last 16 months, will be led by Professor Ray Jones, who is Emeritus Professor of Social Work at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London, alongside being a registered social worker. He will be supported by an advisory panel, made up of children and adults with personal experience of the children’s social care system, carers and parents and representatives from the judiciary and statutory services.

Northern Ireland has seen a sharp increase in the number of children in its care system since the beginning of the pandemic, with COVID-19 having placed extra strain on many parts of the system, as well as the individual lives of many families. As such, the Review will look at “the support services for families, the care of children away from their families, and how the services are currently structured as well as looking at the support for staff.”

Home for Good’s Northern Ireland Lead, Malini Colville, has welcomed the Review, saying:

Children and young people in our care system are some of the most vulnerable, with many having experienced trauma and abuse in their lives. As such, we warmly welcome the Review, recognising that it provides an opportunity for Northern Ireland to create a care system that cares for its children and families more effectively.

The voices of children, young people and adults with lived experience of the care system must remain at the heart of this review and we as Home for Good stand ready to support Professor Jones and his team in ensuring these voices are heard. In addition, Home for Good has been working in Northern Ireland for five years and has seen many individuals and families from the Church step forward to care for children and young people through fostering, adoption and supported lodgings. We look forward to sharing our knowledge and experience with the Review, in order to create a system that enables every child and young person to flourish.

The Review in Northern Ireland comes as the independent Review of Children’s Social Care in England is crafting its final recommendations, with Scotland having conducted its own review of its care system between 2017-2020. Home for Good is committed to removing barriers and providing solutions at the systemic level, to enable children, young people and the families who care for them to thrive. We look forward to working with the Review and the Government in Northern Ireland to secure change on behalf of vulnerable children.

You can read more about our work engaging and influencing the Review in England on our website here.


Author:
Home for Good


Date published:
27 January 2022


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