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Sophie Cameron

Features and Opinion Editor, Solicitors Journal

Committee publishes report on strategy to reform social care for children

Committee publishes report on strategy to reform social care for children


Government strategy takes the right approach but falls short

The Public Services Committee published its report in response to the government’s strategy to reform children’s social care, ‘Stable homes built on love: implementation strategy and consultation: Children’s Social Care Reform 2023,’ on 25 May, which concludes that the government’s strategy has the correct approach to tackling the issues with children’s social care but that it falls short on delivering the ‘radical reset’ needed.  

The Committee is of the opinion that despite the fact that the strategy contains much of what is needed to address the problems in children’s social care, it lacks the scale, ambition, funding and pace to have any immediate benefit for those involved in the children’s social care system. There is also said to be no guarantee of any long-term reform. As such, the government is advised that it must not waste the opportunity to implement the far-reaching reforms required.

Among the recommendations put forward in the report, the Committee states the following: that the government should ensure that all children’s care services see some benefits, soon; the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit should have responsibility for driving implementation and coordination of the strategy between departments; changes to advocacy services must ensure full independence from the local authorities they will need to hold to account; and that the Department for Education should urgently set regional and national targets for foster carer recruitment and retention. 

Chair of the Public Services Committee, Baroness Morris of Yardley, said: “The children’s care system is in crisis and while the Government’s Strategy is a step in the right direction, it falls short of delivering the immediate real time benefits to children and families that we need. The Strategy is a golden opportunity, but it could be wasted. Vulnerable young people are being failed by the system. There are shortages of every kind of care, and children are being placed in settings that do not work for them. This is untenable. As one young person we spoke to told us: ‘I am a person not a number’. The Government’s plan has much to recommend it, but unless the proposals go further and faster, the Strategy will leave many children behind. While we accept that not every reform can be introduced everywhere immediately, the Government must ensure that all children and families engaged in the care system see some immediate benefit and can be sure that significant improvements and reform will follow. We’ve made a number of recommendations which the Government must follow if it wants to implement the fundamental reforms required to deliver an operationally effective system and prevent a worsening of the current crisis.”