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Passionately Championing Children’s Needs

Having recently become Chair of the Health, Care & Additional Needs (HCAN) Policy Committee, I have been getting my head round what I have taken on. The opportunities are huge and the ADCS team has been fantastic in guiding me round the essential aspects of the role.

I attended my first Council of Reference meeting recently and was welcomed into the fold by all. It was immediately clear that this is a group of skilled and passionate leaders at the leading edge of the national debate on issues critical to us all. Their passion for children’s welfare shone through all the discussion, which covered such areas as: how to respond to the Education White Paper; the Social Work reform and skills programme; the priorities for the forthcoming year with a new ADCS president. I was challenged by the prospect of contributing effectively to the work and excited by the reality of joining the team!

Can I really do justice to championing not only the needs, but also the strengths of our children and young people in care as chair of this committee? Can I help steer the committee through the rigours of the new SEND inspection and learning? What about the essential work being progressed around children’s mental health? This agenda needs all of us to contribute our learning, our expertise and our commitment if we are to do justice to the children we serve and we need to shine a light on the good work that happens as well as strive to do better.

As DCS in Salford I meet many wonderful young people, many of whom are in care, and I am always overwhelmed by their passion for life and the skills they have to offer, just needing the opportunity and the nurturing to flourish. I have also had the privilege of catching up with a few who knew me many years ago as their social worker when I worked in Salford previously. It has been humbling to realise the impact I had on those lives for better or worse, bringing home to me the importance of good social work and support for children who only get one chance at childhood.

It is fantastic that there is such a strong national focus on issues close to our hearts: getting the future right for our children in care; giving the best education to those with special education needs; and addressing the needs of those who need the right mental health support. But there is a lot to do and with more people involved there is a greater chance that we can influence developments.

HCAN is looking for new members, especially with SEND expertise, so if you would like to help do get in touch with the ADCS office via I am looking forward to some close working with other committees around shared areas of work and I am also incredibly excited to be involved in ADCS and am really looking forward to the challenge.

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