On Friday 15 January, the Education Secretary launched the long-awaited review of children's social care in England. The Conservatives pledged to conduct a review of the care system in their election manifesto in 2019, following the publication of the findings of the Scottish Care Review earlier that year. The review itself will go above and beyond this pledge, not only looking at the experiences of children in care, but all children who are referred to or involved with statutory children’s social care.
We are pleased to see a broad and ambitious scope for the review, which sets out to reshape how children and young people enter, are supported by and leave the social care system. It will include those in formal care settings, as well as informal care arrangements such as kinship care.
We also welcome the strong focus on the voices and lived experience of people who are or have been involved with children's social care. These voices will vital in ensuring that the review makes meaningful changes and improves outcomes for children and young people in and leaving care. It is crucial that the review hears from care experienced people of all ages and backgrounds who reflect the diversity of those involved with experience of children's social care.
The review will also consider partner agencies and how the social care system interacts with these. The terms of reference mention the police and health services - which are welcome given the current concerns about criminalisation of children in care. However, we are keen that the review also considers the role of third sector organisations like Leicestershire Cares, and the extent to which charities are relied on by statutory services to enable young people to reach outcomes that the system should be securing for its young people.
The review also needs to consider the considerable support that the business community can provide to children and young people in care, building on the work of organisations like ours and the Care Leaver Covenant.
At Leicestershire Cares, we are excited about the potential benefits that this review may bring to the thousands of children and young people who are involved in children's social care each year. We are looking forward to making our contribution and supporting the care experienced young people we work with to feed into the review and its recommendations to improve the system for all.