A reset focused on family & relationships: MV welcomes the Care Review
MV welcomes the publication of the Independent Review of Children's Social Care, as ‘a once in a generation opportunity to reset children’s social care’ and a genuine opportunity to improve outcomes for vulnerable children.
In its headline message, the Review hits the right note and accords with our experience of working with successful local authorities. We support its central recommendation to focus on relationships as the solution to improving outcomes for vulnerable children, and the need to reset a system that too often emphasises professionals and services above family and community.
This focus of relationships is the golden thread that runs throughout the Review, seen in its call to bring wider family members and friends into decision-making, the recommendation to replace the term ‘early help’ with ‘family help’, and an emphasis on ‘loving relationships’ as the basis for a successful childhood. To illustrate this, we were delighted to see Leeds City Council’s Family Valued and Hertfordshire’s Family Safeguarding showcased as examples of good practice. Both approaches are part of the DfE’s Strengthening Families Supporting Children Programme, supported by MV.
Elsewhere, the Review recognises the problem of profiteering in children's social care, and argues that government should levy a windfall tax on private residential children’s homes and fostering. More significant, though, is the recommendation for local authorities to establish new Regional Care Cooperatives (RCCs) to take on responsibility fostering, residential and secure care in a region. MV’s experience of running the national programme on Regional Adoption Agencies has shown how successful cooperation between local authorities can be (as well as the pitfalls to avoid).
The Review also rightly highlights the importance of the workforce. We understand how challenging working in social care is, particularly where there is pressure to improve. More needs to be done to support social workers and the wider children’s services workforce, and the Review provides a useful starting point for progress.
Overall, MV supports the ambition of the Review and we look forward to debating what it means for the future. We hope that it will now be followed by real commitment from central government – and that it will be a catalyst for better outcomes for vulnerable children throughout England.
Watch this space for more comment and our full response to the Care Review!
Read the Independent Review of Children's Social Care here
Read more about MV's work in children's services here