Friday, November 6, 2020
The voice of care experienced people must be central to the government’s promised Care Review, the National Children and Adult Services Conference (NCASC) has heard.
Jenny Coles, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) today (6 November) chaired a discussion about the long-awaited review, pledged in the Conservative Party manifesto ahead of last year’s general election.
Yusuf Paul McCormack, from campaign group Our Care, Our Say, said: “A Care Review without the voice of the care experienced is like asking a mechanic to design a house or a group of men to design the best sanitary product – it would be based on theory, they wouldn’t know how it feels.”
McCormack delivered a moving speech from the perspective of his “inner child” calling on professionals to cultivate trusting and loving relationships with children in care.
“Don’t ask them to spill their guts, why should they work to your timeline? Build a relationship, involve them.
“Don’t treat me as if I’m not there or in the way, because that’s how you usually make me feel,” he said, concluding, “things don’t seem to have moved forward with regards to how a child in care still feels.”
Following McCormack’s speech, Charlotte Ramsden, ADCS vice president, hinted at movement with the review within the next year saying: “It will be likely that it runs through my year as ADCS president” which begins in April.
Ramsden called for a cross-departmental review which puts “supporting children and families at the forefront of cross-government policy”.
“We need a whole systems approach that explains how and why children come into care.
“We want less children to come into care because they can have their needs met at home with their families,” she said.
Ramsden added that the “review must take account of the key role health plays” which was echoed by chief social worker Isabelle Trowler who called for greater partnerships with children and adolescent mental health services to be cemented in the review.
“The review will need to look at where children in care live and essentially why, we cannot resolve this without looking at CAMHS,” she said.
“This is the billion pound question – once we’ve decided what it is we want to provide, why and to whom then we can decide who we want to provide it.”
Yesterday, children’s minister Vicky Ford told the conference that more announcements on the review would be made “very imminently”.