The government has announced there is to be a ‘wholesale’ independent review of children’s social care in England.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson will launch the review later today (15 January) and will confirm it will be led by the founder and chief executive of social work charity Frontline, Josh MacAlister.
At the launch, Mr MacAlister will launch a ‘call for advice’ to help shape the early work of the review and invite applications for an ‘experts by experience’ group to advise him on how to include the voices of people with a ‘lived experience’ of the children’s social care system.
In addition, the education secretary will also announce today that the Adoption Support Fund will continue beyond March 2021.
‘2020 showed us the grit, commitment and creativity of social workers, teachers and other professionals, then 2021 is our chance to think afresh about how we support children without the safety, stability and love that many of us take for granted,’ said Mr MacAlister.
‘This review will listen deeply and think boldly. That is why I am recruiting for an ‘experts by experience’ group that will direct an ambitious effort to hear the diverse experiences of children and families who have had social workers. I also need advice and challenge as we start this review, which is why I’m launching a call for advice.
‘Deep down I think many of those working in the children’s social care system and certainly many of those who have experience of it, know that radical change is needed. My commitment is that this review will deliver a wide-ranging plan to extend the joy, growth and safety of childhood and the esteem, love and security of family life to all children,’ he added.
Responding to the announcement, the chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, Cllr Judith Blake said: ‘We are particularly pleased that the review intends to place the views and experiences of children, young people and the care experienced community at its heart. Proper, meaningful engagement will make clear the changes our children and young people want and deserve.
‘The review will need to look at the experiences of children in the round, considering not only the work of children’s social care departments, but partners including schools and healthcare services who have a vital role to play in supporting children and their families. Demand for support has increased dramatically over the last decade, and it is important that we understand why this is and whether services are adequately resourced to give children the right help at the right time,’ added Cllr Blake.
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