As part of our commitment to encouraging local discussion and policy development we hosted a webinar on Sept 7th to examine how the care review might impact on children and young people locally. The event was hosted by Kieran Breen our CEO and the guest speakers were:
- Josh MacAlister, Chair of the Independent Review of Children's Social Care in England
- Deborah Taylor, Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Children & Families, Leicestershire County Council
- Charlotte Robey-Turner, Head of Children and Young People, Leicestershire Cares
In an insightful discussion, Josh highlighted the need for the system to shift its focus, so that the goal is to support and empower young people to build loving relationships and community networks. Deborah welcomed the review and felt there was much we could be getting on with now such as building partnerships and connections. Charlotte highlighted, how it “takes a village to raise a child” and we had to get away from silo ways of working and thinking and support young people to connect and benefit from relationships with the community and business sector.
In a lively question and answer session. Josh felt that there was a need for a mindset change, where mangers and staff put the focus on young people building relationships within their communities, rather than seeing their relationship with the young person as the key. Sarah Russell, Deputy City Mayor , Social Care and Anti Poverty for the city council, highlighted how Ofsted safeguarding, risk guidelines could make working in a creative and agile way challenging. Josh felt that inspections procedures need to change and takes a more rounded view of what it means to focus on the child. Time was seen as an issue that got in the way of networking and partnership as well as competition, partly spurred on by the scarcity of resources and community groups wanting to own young people. Social workers were seen as getting a bad press, but Josh noted there was no shortage of people wanting to be social workers and he felt key was developing the roles, so social workers could spend more time supporting young people and less time attending to red tape. Concerns were raised about the energy crisis and cost of living increases making it too expensive for foster carers to care, this was seen as an area that need action soon. There was also agreement that poverty had huge impact on the care system and must be tackled if we want to improve the life chances of children and young people, which is why we needed a comprehensive and systematic review that identified the issues that need to be tackled. Deborah made the case for funding for preventative work. The webinar was taking place after the newly formed cabinet met, Josh felt whilst it was early days, if action not taken the issues and costs will get worse. Many of the participants felt youth clubs needed to be invested in and we could do with a return to Surestart early years schemes.
As for final Points:
Communities are fundamental and key to creating a village to raise our childrenCharlotte Robey-Turner, Head of Children and Young People, Leicestershire Cares
I am really positive, and we must strive, and ensure that love comes through strongly in the system and we have the flexibility and ability to respond locallyDeborah Taylor, Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Children & Families, Leicestershire County Council
Change in a complex large system is hard and things will go wrong but we do need everyone in the same direction with a plan. Whilst government response is important there is a lot that local community groups, businesses and council can do nowJosh MacAlister, Chair of the Independent Review of Children's Social Care in England
In closing the meeting, Kieran thanked everyone for coming and noted
Across the UK there are thousands of talented and motivated professionals and volunteers trying to make the care system better, often in very challenging circumstances, Leicestershire Cares believes if we work together in a creative and agile partnerships, we are far more likely to be effectiveKieran Breen CEO Leicestershire Cares
Watch the YouTube recording of the discussion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BI5BHxJxsU
Read the Care review summary https://childrenssocialcare.independent-review.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Executive-summary.pdf
Read more about our work with care experienced young people https://www.leicestershirecares.co.uk/get-help/individuals/care-experience/
Read about our Power to Change approach https://www.leicestershirecares.co.uk/about-charity/our-approach/power-to-change/