Government’s response to the care review: NLCBF Initial Response

Government’s response to the care review: NLCBF Initial Response

We welcome the publishing of the government’s response to the Care Review, ‘Stable Homes Built on Love.’  We are pleased to see recommendations around:

  • Pursuing a focus around building relationships throughout Children’s social care.
  • Corporate Parenting Responsibilities extending to public bodies – We believe this has huge potential to increase opportunities and remove barriers for care experienced young people and could provide a way to create a National Offer for care experienced young people.
  • Opt-out Advocacy – This is an area that was highlighted by care experienced young people from the Young People’s Benchmarking Forum and we will work to ensure this offer is extended up to the age of 25.
  • Increases to the apprenticeship bursary and setting up home grant.
  • Housing and Homelessness including recommendations around Staying Close, Staying Put, removal of local connection and homelessness intentionality, rent guarantor schemes and supported lodgings.
  • The 6 missions for children in care and care experienced young people.

Around mental health, we were expecting a far stronger response – given that this is a key area of concern that care experienced young people and leaving care professionals have raised.  Poor mental health is a barrier to the success of the other Missions – employment, education, sustaining housing and creating positive relationships.  We welcome the recommendations around mental health training for professionals, but care experienced young people need access to specialist trauma informed support from the NHS in a timely and accessible way.

We are also disappointed to see a lack of focus around financial wellbeing of young people leaving care.  Even prior to the Cost of Living Crisis, care experienced young people were only just surviving financially.  Our recent report ‘Survival Is not Easy’ shows the impact that the cost of living is having on mental health, exploitation, ability to sustain tenancies and afford food.  Achieving the six missions, will not be possible without addressing this issue – our report offers recommendations for targeted support that would make a difference.

We had hoped that the Protected Characteristic recommendation would be taken forward – following feedback from our members and Young People’s Benchmarking Forum. We will continue to work to understand how we can tackle stigma and discrimination and to understand the impact of individual councils making the decision to recognise care experience as a protected characteristic.

Overall, we are concerned about the level of funding committed to the response at this stage.  The Care Review is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to transform Children’s social care.  We need to maintain the sense of urgency and need for significant transformation that will make a difference quickly for children and young people currently in care and leaving care. 

Over the next few months, we will be consulting with the Young People’s Benchmarking Forum & our members to respond fully to the government’s consultation and we will continue to push for the transformation that is needed for the young people we support.

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