Common-sense sustainability for the future of Residential Child Care
The Care Review has become distracted from its main goal. In attempting to do too many things, to appease the scatter of interested parties, trying to connect the fragments, it has become unable to see the big picture.
It has accepted an unrealistic time frame for the necessary work.
The Care Review needs to be realistic.
It cannot do everything. It should not try to do so.
Its conclusions regarding children’s social care placements need to address and propose structures that will provide direction, and containment, for the well-being of children’s social care placements
It needs to state unequivocally how this work will be done, but that it is not the vehicle for it.
The overarching need is for Governance. This needs to be the focus for the Care Review.
The current system of planning and funding is dysfunctional, ineffective, and inefficient.
The conclusion is clear, practical, and radical.
External involvement in the form of a regulator supported by statutory powers is required. This is the only realistic way to bring real change, stability, and long-term health to residential child care.
This matters because residential child care is what makes all else in children’s services be possible.
This is the root of the panic amongst policy makers.
That residential child care is fundamental for all else to function is rarely realised and has not been expressed recently, especially by the Care Review discussions. After all, which of the parties is going to express this truth in which they are implicated in developing and sustaining?
The social consequences of an unsustainable residential child care sector are too significant to ignore.
There is no current organisation that has the credibility or expertise to function as a governing body.
The conclusion is crystal clear.
The sector has shown itself incapable of self-reform.
If the situation is to be resolved external involvement is required in the form of an independent regulator or commissioner supported by statutory powers.
There are a wide range of fundamental problems in English residential child care.
1) The scale and implications of financial imbalances between providers.
2) The resistance to key changes in regulation, governance, and balance within the game. This despite many efforts and recommendations by parliamentary select committees and other enquiries over years.
3) The multitude of consequential issues extending from unacceptably limited progress in dealing with the diversity of provision needed that is to the detriment of children with the highest needs.
Government needs to give an appropriate Governance body appropriate authority.
This body is the Care Bank. Children in Charge: the original proposal | Children England
Care Bank needs to be able to:
1) Be independent of the current structure of provision, purchase, and regulation.
2) Decide on the distribution of needs-led funding.
3) Set up a new and comprehensive licencing system for children’s residential child care.
4) Review causes of financial stress in the provision of residential child care as it affects the meeting of all needs.
5) Implement governance reforms which are essential to ensure it is truly independent, diverse, and representative of residential child care today.
6) Liaise with children’s and workers organisations to progress issues that are of concern to ensure their voice is heard and acted upon.
7) Study lessons from outside of the sector.
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