Government reforms for children’s social care put forward: CCN response

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2023 | 02 February 2023

Today the government has unveiled its new strategy for children’s social care – the long-awaited Children’s Social Care Implementation Strategy.

The plan responds to recommendations made by the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, which was led by Josh MacAlister.

The plan is backed by £200m over the next two years, and has a particular focus on early help and prevention, and keeping families together wherever possible. The County Councils Network had led calls for this culture shift in children’s care.

The government also announced that 12 local authorities would pilot this ‘new model’, as well as funding for a fresh foster carer recruitment drive. The plans for reform also include a new national framework for children’s social care and dashboard, which the government is now consulting on.

Last year, CCN research with Newton found that if the system was left unchecked there could be close to 100,000 children in care by the end of 2025, with local authorities spending £2.1bn more that year compared to the start of the decade.

Below CCN responds to today’s announcement.

Cllr Keith Glazier, Children’s Social Care Spokesperson for the County Councils Network, said:

“The County Councils Network has long warned that the current children’s social care system is no longer working for children, families, and local authorities. Our research last year showed that, left unchecked, the number of children in care could rise to almost 100,000 young people by the end of 2025 while councils continue to overspend their budgets. Action is desperately needed.

“Key to any reform to children’s social care is a greater focus on preventative services and more emphasis on keeping families together, where it is safe to do so. We are pleased that the government has acted on our calls and will look to pilot this new approach, alongside a renewed recruitment drive for desperately needed foster carers.

“However, the funding made available to delivers these changes falls short of what both councils and Josh MacAlister argue is required, while the pilots are only taking place in a select few areas at a time when young people across the country cannot afford to wait. We understand that the public finances are tight, but we urge government to increase the funding allocated for these reforms in line with the recommended £2.6bn by the end of 2026/27 – investing in children and young people has a significant societal benefit, and will deliver long-term savings.”