How to do better for children and families across the country

Photo credit_ Robert Scott Photography via _ CC BY-NC-ND“Rethinking Children’s Services Fit for the Future?”

Worth making time to read this excellent collection of essays, exploring new perspectives on how to do better for children and families across the country in the context of increased demand and reduced funding.

The report published by Catch22 and the National Children’s Bureau (NCB).‘Rethinking Children’s Services: Fit for the Future?’ brings together the thoughts of prominent government advisers, local service leaders and leading thinkers to present their thinking about the future of children’s services and to provide examples of approaches being taken by local authorities.

Here’s an extract from the Foreword provided by Lord Norman Warner, former Commissioner for Children’s Social Care in Birmingham:

‘The optimism of an era that passed the 1989 Children Act and put the interests of the child centre stage seems a long time ago. We still have a statutory framework for protecting children, but the investment in that framework continues to shrink with no end in sight. As money gets tighter organisations seek to protect themselves, tightening their eligibility criteria and looking nervously at co-operative ventures. Better to survive until better nancial weather comes, they think; but what if it doesn’t? The children in need and at risk are still there – and probably increasing in number.

There are thankfully still a lot of talented and committed people around – both professionals and others – who want to help and work with children and young people. They work hard, often struggling to make sense of the systems that they have to work within. These people need to be rescued with some new creative thinking and action. As the traditional public expenditure pots continue decreasing new approaches must be tried if vulnerable children aren’t to get an even worse deal.

Today it is worth remembering the wartime advice of the eminent physicist Ernest Rutherford; “we haven’t got the money, so we’ve got to think.” This set of essays attempts to deliver some of that new thinking for an era of public expenditure austerity.

For meaningful change that helps children at risk and in need the action must shift locally. Hanging around for the men and women in Whitehall and Westminster to act could mean a very long wait. We just have to hope they don’t get in the way! The watchwords for the new normal of shrinking public budgets must be innovation, technology, partnership, localism and outcomes, not processes. There are plenty of ideas along these lines in these essays for people to get their teeth into.

For the sake of the children who need our help, let’s hope people do’.

Read the full report: Rethinking Children’s Services Fit for the Future?

Read at source: here

Related publications: Rethinking Children’s Services Fit for the Future?

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