Government launches major review of children’s social care sector

The Government has launched an independent review of the children’s social care sector to improve outcomes for society’s most vulnerable group, it has been announced.

The review will be led by industry expert Josh MacAlister, founder of social work charity Frontline and a former schoolteacher.

Building on a 2019 manifesto commitment that pledged to look at the care system, the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the review will “set out to radically reform the system” and “raise the bar for vulnerable children across the country”.

The review will look at and address problems in:

  • the process from referral through to becoming looked after
  • the increase in numbers of looked after children
  • the inconsistencies in children’s social care practice
  • outcomes across the country; and
  • the failure of the system to provide enough stable homes for children.

According to a recent study, children who have been in care comprise 25 per cent of homeless people and 24 per cent of the prison population.

Meanwhile, more than a third (39 per cent) of care leavers are not in education, employment or training, compared to 13 per cent of the general population.

Commenting on the review, Mr Williamson said: “We have known for some time that despite the best efforts of hardworking and dedicated social workers, the children’s social care system is not delivering a better quality of life and improved outcomes for those it is designed to help.

“This review will be bold, wide-ranging and will not shy away from exposing problems where they exist. Under Josh MacAlister’s leadership, it will benefit from his understanding of the challenges facing the system and his experience of improving outcomes for children and young people.”

Chair of the Review Mr MacAlister added: “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.”

To learn more about the independent review of children’s social care, please click here.

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