Here’s what our Care Experts think of this week’s Review of Children’s Social Care.

This week, the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care released its report and recommendations. This review is an opportunity to build a future where every child and young person feels safe, secure and supported.

As a group of Care Leavers, we fed directly into the Care Review last year through our Let’s Talk Conflict podcast; through this we got the opportunity to meet with Josh MacAlister to discuss the major issues in the system for care-experienced young people, and our ideas for solutions.

Our initial reflections are that we are pleased to see some of our suggested solutions in the final report. We particularly like the recommendations around listening to children’s voices, and an increased emphasis on advocacy for young people. We also support the section around family decision-making.

However, for a lot of the recommendations, we feel that it falls short. The commitments are not strong enough and the language is too vague. For us, it doesn’t feel person-centered, and doesn’t take into account individual cases and different children’s needs and aspirations.

It doesn’t go far enough in addressing the postcode lottery of children’s services that exists currently. Whilst we recognise that introducing a ‘protected characteristic’ is a step in the right direction, this doesn’t do enough to directly and proactively tackle the stigma around care experience.

We would like to see more emphasis on preventative social workers being embedded in the community. We are concerned that the emphasis on a ‘multi-agency’ approach will mean passing responsibility to even more professionals, when there is already a lack of communication between those who are supposed to be protecting young people.

It is vital that the Department for Education acts now in order to reform a system that is failing to protect young people. There needs to be far greater accountability for the government to enact the recommendations from the review—and young people’s voices need to be heard at every step of the way.

Can the government promise to involve us and other young people and care leavers in the process of transforming the care system, and follow through on their promises to bring meaningful change?

We have recently finished recording Season 2 of our podcast, Let’s Talk Conflict, which includes an episode called ‘The Real Experts: Redesigning the Care System.’

In this episode, we reflect on the core values and principles that we think a new care system should be built on. We address the biggest issues that we feel are failing young people in the care system, and what needs to be in place to ensure the system is nurturing young people and supporting them to thrive.

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Authored by the Let’s Talk Conflict podcast group: Evie, Alice, George and Ashley.