On 2 February the Government released its strategy to transform children’s social care, with ambitious plans that put families at the heart of reform
The Adoption and Fostering team at the charity Diagrama has been looking at what the Children’s Social Care Implementation Strategy will mean for those who work in the sector.
At the crux of the Government’s Children’s Social Care Implementation Strategy is a promise that vulnerable children will be better supported to stay with their families in safe and loving homes, as part of an overhaul of children’s social care.
Families will receive local early help and intervention with challenges such as addiction, domestic abuse or mental health, to help families to stay together where possible and overcome adversity. This will start in 12 local authorities and is backed by £45m to embed a best practice model that will then be shared more widely.
Children who grow up in loving, stable homes tend to have better outcomes, which is why the proposals put relationships at the heart of the care system and prioritise family-like placements where a child can no longer live with their parents. Kinship care, where a child is placed with a relative or close family friend, will be prioritised by simplifying the process and providing more support to extended families, such as grandparents, aunties, uncles and others. Recognising the transition within a family can be challenging for all involved, the government will also provide training and support to kinship carers.
Foster carers will also see an above-inflation increase in their allowance to help cover the increasing costs of caring for a child in their home, in recognition of the brilliant care they provide to children. This is alongside £25 million over the next two years on a recruitment and retention programme, which is the largest investment in recent history, helping to attract more people to offer a loving home for children in need. Depending on local need, foster care recruitment will focus on areas where there is a particular shortage of placements for children such as sibling groups, teenagers, unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC), those that have suffered complex trauma or parent and child foster homes.
Kate Patel, Head of Adoption and Fostering Services, Diagrama, said “It is pleasing to read that the Government has now published its strategy for the reform of children’s social care. I’m encouraged the Government recognises the significant and vital role that foster carers play in the care of some of Britain’s most vulnerable children and young people. At Diagrama we recognise the vital role that fostering families provide and the stability, love and security they bring to the children and young people they foster. We are keenly aware of the need to increase the number of high quality foster carers who can provide loving and stable homes to siblings, teenagers and asylum seeking young people and welcome any support there is to build on the recruitment and retention of the foster carer workforce. The report indicates the Government will invest £25 million over the next two years to tackle the fostering recruitment issues. Further detail on how this money can be used to support Not For profit Independent Fostering agencies like Diagrama would be most welcomed as it isn’t yet clear on how this money will be used. We have a successful record of recruiting and supporting foster carers who undertake incredible work with children and young people and we very much want to further our work in this area and do our bit to meet the increasing demands for stable secure foster families.”
To find out more about Diagrama visit www.diagramafostering.org.uk
About the Children’s Social Care Implementation Strategy
The strategy responds to recommendations made by three independent reviews by Josh MacAlister, the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel into the tragic murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson, and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The findings revealed the current care system is often fragmented, siloed, and struggling to meet the needs of children and families across England.
About Diagrama Foundation
Diagrama Foundation is a Kent based charity that supports vulnerable children, young people, and adults to live their best life.
Diagrama has a Supported Living Service across Bromley, three homes for adults with learning disabilities in Orpington, a fifty-bed care home for the elderly with nursing and dementia needs in Essex, and a fostering and adoption service in the southeast.
- The Supported Living Service, cares for 35 adults with learning disabilities, in nine homes across Bromley helping them to develop skills and confidence to live in their own house either on their own or with others.
- At Cabrini House in Orpington the charity promotes the development of core skills for 23 adults with learning disabilities so that they can lead independent lives integrated within their community.
- The team at their nursing and dementia care home Edensor in Clacton on Sea, support their vulnerable residents to live life to the full.
- Diagrama’s adoption and fostering service cares for children in South London, Kent, Sussex, and Surrey.
Many vulnerable children and adults don’t get the support they need to develop their true potential, but the Diagrama team know that when someone has time and belief invested in them, they come alive, because that investment has made them feel valued and worthy.