Today Friday 15th January 2021 the government finally launched a review of the care system.

“The Care Leavers Association welcomes today’s announcement from the UK government of the start of the promised review of children’s social care. We look forward to helping the review understand the long-standing failures of major aspects of the current care system and contributing to the development of a far more positive future for children in care and care leavers.

We especially commend the statement that “Running throughout the review will be the voices and experiences of children, young people or adults who have been looked-after, or who have received help or support from a social worker”. It is essential that these voices are heard and acted upon.

In our contributions to the review, we will – in particular – campaign for the needs of care leavers to be given more priority in the care system. If the experience of leaving the care system for independent adult life is a poor one it can have long-term negative consequences for young people.

We also welcome the Chair’s call for advice. Over the years there has been a great deal of research that has highlighted problems and suggested positive improvements. Such research has often been ignored by policy-makers. Moreover, previous government reviews into various aspects of the care system have usually led to little in the way of improved outcomes for children in care and care leavers. That pattern needs to change. Just as the 1946 Curtis Committee Report led to the landmark 1948 Children Act, which finally confined the 19th century Poor Law treatment of children to the history books, so this inquiry should lead to a care system fit for the 21st century.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make life better for all looked after children and care leavers. We must all work together to make that change a reality.”

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