The long-awaited independent review of children’s social care has been published today (23/5/22). First announced in 2019, the aim of the review is to ‘build recommendations for how the system can be improved, continuing to feed in a wide range of views, culminating in final recommendations and a report.’
Some of key areas that address foster care and those with care experience within the report are as follows:
- Foster carers should be given delegated authority by default, to take decisions which affect the day to day lives of children in their care.
- The review is proposing an uplift in spending on foster carer support of £82 million over the next five years to improve foster carer support. All foster carers should be able to access high quality training and peer support.
- A “new deal” for Foster Care. This will involve recruiting thousands more foster carers, making more foster homes feel like loving family environments for children, and providing significantly more support for foster carers The recruitment programme should recruit 3,000 additional foster carers each year between 2023 and 2026 (9,000 in total). The urgency of this means that the Department for Education should launch this programme within six months following publication of the review.
- Staying Put and Staying Close should be a legal entitlement and extended to age 23 with an ‘opt-out’ rather than ‘opt-in’ expectation.
- All local authorities should make a financial allowance paid at the same rate as their fostering allowance available for special guardians and kinship carers with a Child Arrangement Order looking after children who would otherwise be in care
- Government should make care experience a protected characteristic, following consultation with care experienced people and the Devolved Administrations. The five missions are:
- no young person should leave care without at least two loving relationships, by 2027
- double the proportion of care leavers attending university, and particularly high tariff universities, by 2026
- create at least 3,500 new well paid jobs and apprenticeships for care leavers each year, by 2026
- reduce care experience homelessness now, before ending it entirely
- to increase the life expectancy of care experienced people, by narrowing health inequalities with the wider population
- Introduce a stronger safety net against care leaver homelessness by removing the local area connection test, ending intentionally homelessness practice, providing a rent guarantor scheme and increasing the leaving care grant to £2,438 for care experienced people.
The full 278 page review can be downloaded here
FosterTalk will be reviewing the full report and sharing our views shortly. We would love to know what you think? email us at email@example.com with the subject: Care Review