Independent review of children’s social care newsletter: January 2022

Source: Independent Review of Children’s Social Care Newsletter: January 2022

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Introduction from Josh MacAlister, review chair

Welcome to the first update of the year on the work of the independent review of children’s social care. As promised before Christmas, we are now fully focused on writing recommendations which means we will be necessarily quieter for the first few months of the year.

Since my last update I’ve had the opportunity to meet with Annie Hudson, chair of the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel which is leading the review into the tragic death of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and earlier this week they extended their remit to include lessons from Star Hobson’s case.

The tragic cases of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson have highlighted to the public, in the most heartbreaking way, the very real danger some children are in but also the difficult job that social workers face. It’s really important that my review, which looks across the whole of children’s social care, learns from the review into the deaths of Star and Arthur, and is able to take these lessons on board before we report in the spring.

I’m meeting regularly with Annie Hudson and while respecting each other’s independence, we will work closely together and ensure the two reports build on each other.

This month I’ve enjoyed attending a number of virtual and in-person events, highlights include: a seminar organised by the Tilda Goldberg Centre on ‘Beyond Leaving Care, where an expert panel considered transitions from care to adulthood; going to Oxfordshire to meet Elmore who deliver a domestic abuse service as part of Family Solutions Plus; virtual meetings with the Parent Families and Allies Network, the County Councils Network and AdFam who work with children and families affected by substance misuse. I also hosted an adoption round table with members of the expert by experience board and Sarah Johal among others. Thanks to everyone who took the time to meet, you provided much food for thought and a welcome break from writing recommendations!

You can watch the The Tilda Goldberg Centre ‘Beyond Leaving Care’ event here with the passcode: *D%2QwZ@

Building recommendations

This past month I’ve been working with the review team to order the huge number of areas we are looking at into coherent themes. The submissions so many of you made to the Call for Ideas has been incredibly helpful in this task, you offered such a wide array of ideas that have helped us to be really comprehensive in our thinking. I’ve shared a few of the themes that are beginning to emerge as the recommendations start to take shape in a blog earlier this week:

Of course the final report and recommendation will go a lot wider than these few themes, so please don’t worry if an area you are passionate about isn’t covered in this snapshot. I hope this update on our direction of travel is useful, I’ll take the opportunity to share some more thoughts as recommendations develop in the coming weeks.

Children’s social care updates

While the review team have their heads down writing recommendations we thought it may be useful to share some updates from others in the wider children’s social care field.

Healthy relationships:

Domestic abuse prevention charity Safelives are running a research project to better understand how to support young people and promote healthy relationships. If you are a teacher or a young person and would like to take part in SafeLive’s survey, links are below:

Survey for teachers and young people

My Stuff Matters:

The National Youth Advocacy Service is running a campaign ‘My Stuff Matters’ in partnership with UK bag brand Madlug. According to their survey, 80% of children and young people said that their belongings were moved in bin bags at least once during their time in care.

Find out more about the campaign and what you can do to support it:

Book update 1 – The State of It:

Chris Wild, a member of our Expert by Experience board, published ‘The State of it’ last year, an unflinching and frank account of poor treatment of children in care and a passionate call for things to change. The book comes out in paperback next week and is published in support of Become, the national charity for children in care and care leavers.

Book update 2 – Behind Closed Doors launch event:

Tortoise media will be hosting a ‘ThinkIn’ online event on Thursday 3rd February 2022 (6.30-7.30pm) to mark the launch of a book – Behind Closed Doors – by author Polly Curtis who spent three years listening to people affected by the children’s social care system and those who know it best including children, mothers, fathers, foster carers, social workers, teachers, judges and lawyers.

Tortoise events usually require a subscription but readers of this update can sign up for free using the invite code SOCIAL22 through this link: Please note this is not an event organised by the review team and any queries should be directed to Tortoise Media not the care review inbox.

In case you missed it

Ashley John-Baptiste presents a film about sibling relationships in the care system – Split up in Care.
The Education Select Committee spoke to Yvette Stanley, Ofsted’s Social Care Director and Children’s Commissioner Rachel de Souza as part of their inquiry into children’s homes. The session covered educational outcomes, SEND, early help and much more. Watch here:
BBC’s Countryfile looked at how criminals target children in rural areas through ‘county lines’ drugs operations – featuring the Children’s Society’s Prevention Team discussing how to spot the signs of exploitation and the impact of cuts to youth services: (starts at 15 mins)
An interesting blog from chair of John Lewis, Sharon White, who explains why more should be done to give care leavers the best chances in life and how John Lewis is putting this into practice:

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