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Still hungry to make a difference?

It’s that time of year when most of us have had a holiday and we are gradually reconvening our staff and regrouping for the great surge of work that September normally brings. For the first time in my working life, I took three weeks off this year and it was blissful. No sleep deprivation, no Teams meetings and no emails. Of course the daily work carried on, but skilled staff who can deputise and manage in our absence are to be hugely valued. In leadership terms I have read that rest and recuperation also serves a crucial role in helping us “get our hunger back”. I confess it didn’t feel that way on my first day back in work which was more “rabbit in the headlights” and missing an afternoon siesta, however, having overcome the initial shock I can feel that inner urge to make a difference has been re-fuelled.

This autumn we are going to need all the individual and collective strength and grit we can muster to tackle the raft of challenges that face our children and young people, their families, our services, our partner organisations and of course us. While we wait for the political machinations to be finalised and a new government is formed, with varied new and old plans and an uncertain future in terms of resourcing commitments, we have the same job to do. We will continue to deliver the best outcomes for, and with, our children and young people with the collective resources we have and keep them as safe as possible in our complex and challenging places.

The impact of Covid is still emerging, with complexity and distress evident in so many new cases, plus the additional cost of living crisis looming large not just for the families we serve but for our staff too. Despite all our intervention and provision of evidence, we are no further forward in terms of a commitment to the long-term resourcing plan for crucial services that we need. Despite being clear why suitable placements are simply not available for so many of our children, pressure is being piled on us to find solutions when we need a national response to unblock issues and enable new opportunities.

The critical needs of our children and their families need a skilled and stable workforce who know their children and build trusting relationships. Cost of living pressures and permanent staff shortages are impacting staff wellbeing and add risk to the stability of our relationships with the children and young people who need our support and care.

We could be overwhelmed by the magnitude of these challenges but thanks to the collective strength and wisdom of the ADCS, our hunger to make a difference is regularly refreshed and our collective wisdom and experience will continue to mean we work together on solutions at a local, regional, and national level. We can’t work miracles and we don’t have a magic wand, but we achieve some amazing impact in the work that we do and personally I will use my renewed hunger to make a difference where I can. I hope a summer break has renewed your hunger too and as always, we are stronger together and our commitment is strong. Welcome back to an autumn where we will continue to work together to champion the needs of our children and young people, and also our workforce who are so essential to their outcomes.

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