Better Care Network

Evidence containing data sourced from Better Care Network

Stable Homes, Built on Love: Implementation Strategy and Consultation Children’s Social Care Reform 2023
Department of Education 2023

Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, stable and loving home. Last year, 3 independent reviews looked at the changes that are needed to achieve this.1 Between them they looked at the full breadth of children’s social care and heard from thousands of people with lived experience of these services or who work in them. We agree with their problem analysis and vision for change. This vision is underpinned by the fundamental principle of the Children Act 1989 that children’s welfare is paramount. The best way of promoting children’s welfare is very often by supporting children’s families and the loving relationships around them. To achieve this vision, we need to rebalance children’s social care away from costly crisis intervention to more meaningful and effective help for families, so that it achieves the outcomes children deserve. Achieving this will require a major reset that puts love and stable relationships at the heart of what children’s social care does. We will take ambitious action across six pillars to transform children’s social care. These are set out below. We will reform in phases. Over the next two years, we will invest £200 million 2 addressing urgent issues facing children and families now, laying the foundations for whole system reform and setting national direction for change. After two years, we will refresh this strategy, scaling up the new approaches we have tested and developed, and bringing forward new legislation (subject to parliamentary time).

The independent review of children's social care: final report
McAllister J. 2022

This moment is a once in a generation opportunity to reset children’s social care. What we need is a system that provides intensive help to families in crisis, acts decisively in response to abuse, unlocks the potential of wider family networks to raise children, puts lifelong loving relationships at the heart of the care system and lays the foundations for a good life for those who have been in care. What we have currently is a system increasingly skewed to crisis intervention, with outcomes for children that continue to be unacceptably poor and costs that continue to rise. For these reasons, a radical reset is now unavoidable.Achieving this reset starts with recognising that it is loving relationships that hold the solutions for children and families overcoming adversity. While relationships are rich and organic, children’s social care can be rigid and linear. Rather than drawing on and supporting family and community, the system too often tries to replace organic bonds and relationships with professionals and services. Without a dramatic whole system reset, outcomes for children and families will remain stubbornly poor and by this time next decade there will be approaching 100,000 children in care (up from 80,000 today) and a flawed system will cost over £15 billion per year (up from £10 billion now).1 Together, the changes we recommend will shift these trends and would mean 30,000 more children living safely and thriving with their families by 2032 compared to the current trajectory.

NIHR School for
Social Care Research