On Tuesday 20 July at 10.00am, Anne Longfield, Former Children’s Commissioner for England, Josh MacAlister, Lead Reviewer, Independent Review of Children’s Social Care and Lord Andrew Adonis, Labour life peer, former Schools Minister and former children’s home resident were questioned by the Yesterday the Education Committee on the Inquiry into Children’s Homes.
Launched in March, the inquiry is part of the Committee’s continuing work focussing on the issues faced by left-behind groups. It is examining the educational outcomes of young people from children’s homes, and the progress they make with moving into employment or training. Other themes include the use of unregulated provision, out-of-area placements, and the sufficiency of children’s home places.
The inquiry will also examine the impact that Covid-19 may have had on the demand for children’s social care.
Referring to his own lived experience, Lord Adonis told the Committee that changes of social worker were the single biggest part of his time in care. He moved on to say that “it’s when you have stable, serious, professionals in charge that things begin to look up.”
Anne Longfield shared evidence from her former role as the Children’s Commissioner for England citing the “huge turnover in terms of social workers. Children in care told me they give up on social workers”. She argued that the state needs to become much more of a “pushy parent”, asserting that the state should absolutely not accept anything around delay and accepting gaps in provision. “We need to be so much more ambitious, we need to look at Personal Advisors, Social Workers, Independent Reviewing Officers, Virtual School Heads, and who in there is going to make sure this plan is going to happen.”
Josh MacAlister acknowledged that there is “significant turbulence”.
It is worth watching the meeting in full: HERE