skip to Main Content
Looking to read the latest articles? Please click here
The Budget And Residential Child Care

The Budget and Residential Child Care

For the children who need residential care the Budget actually undermines the factors they claim to be addressing
It is a ‘heads on beds’ reactive spending concerned with numbers not needs. It comes from a perspective that is still ‘placement’ shopping, purchasing what is provided, continuing with procurement, rather than service and needs-led planned development, that is really commissioning.
The 200 additional children’s home places mitigates local authority criticism of unavailability, but does not do anything to ensure they can be the right home at the right time. How do the proposals address stability?
Footing half the retail price of a bed every other council is also chasing (and also getting half price) will not make it the right place, or any more available. If you’re doing the wrong thing, shopping, doing this better makes you wronger, not righter.
There is nothing developing the capacity of homes and workers to meet higher level needs. The numbers not needs approach shows no application of data, understanding and therefore strategy for children in desperate need requiring intensive intervention. There is no forward thinking, for example, a range of provision, or workforce development of children’s homes, or Forensic CAMHS.
The proposal for Secure Children’s Homes will bring few or no new places. It does not mean they will be able to provide places. As other ‘open’ homes these must refuse children whose needs cannot be met.
What do the proposals for Local Government Pension Scheme investment mean? That the government has run out of money for higher level needs? That it will change LAPS to allow such investment? This is seeking to create a narrative to “unlock investment” , “productivity” and “improve transparency around investment in private equity firms”. How it will address these cannot be discerned.
It would be interesting to know alternative proposals considered but not included, for example, if the Budget had given residential child care workers the equivalent of all that recently awarded to foster carers this would have remedied low pay in the sector and generated increased recruitment potential.