ADCS response: Children’s social care implementation...

Responding to the children’s social care implementation strategy Steve Crocker, ADCS President, said:

“We welcome the publication of the children’s social care implementation strategy. Local authority children’s services, up and down the country, support thousands of children and families each day, keeping them safe from harm. We hope these reforms will allow us to improve the system by building upon the areas of strength that the strategy identifies. The care review, like many other reports, highlights chronic challenges that stand in the way of improving outcomes for children and families. The system needs urgent change and directors of children’s services want to work with government, and others, to achieve this.

“While there is much we welcome it is important that any forthcoming reforms to special educational needs and education dovetail with this strategy. Indeed, the strategy’s emphasis on multi-agency working will be essential to the success of these reforms. When the government consults on updating the Working Together guidance all safeguarding partners will need clarity on their responsibilities and how they will be held to account to ensure that they deliver for children and families.

“The emphasis in the strategy on tackling racial and mental health disparities is welcome, as is the focus on providing earlier support for children and families through revised Family Help arrangements, greater support for care leavers and addressing recruitment and retention issues amongst foster carers and social workers. We are pleased the government has listened to our advice and is taking a ‘test and learn’ approach to implementation. It is important for the sector to have the space to explore what works and, crucially, take the time to pause and re-evaluate where things don’t work as intended. Collaborative commissioning may offer part of the solution to the complex set of issues we currently face in relation to children’s placements, but it is unlikely to achieve the desired results without a shift away from profiteering in the children’s placements market. There is need for greater government action here.

“The current financial context for local authorities is tough and so any additional investment to fund local pathfinders before wider rollout is welcome, however, the level of funding beyond the next two years remains unclear. Getting change right for children requires proper, equitable resourcing. ADCS is keen to work closely with government and others during this implementation phase and will be responding to the consultations published today following discussions with our members. We encourage others in the sector to do the same to help shape these important reforms. We need the buy in of our partners in health, schools and others to achieve real change.”


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