Too many children failed due to lack of improvement in social services, former children’s minister
Too many children have been “failed” through a lack of progress on improving social services in the last decade, a Conservative former children’s minister has told the Commons.
Tim Loughton (pictured) said problems with children’s social care raised over the past 10 to 15 years are still present, although also said there have been “many successes” in that period too.
He referenced numerous reviews of the issues over several years and said, “I’m afraid we have failed too many children by not taking up the challenge that those reports presented, putting in the resources and delivering the outcomes that some of our most vulnerable members in our society desperately needed”.
He was speaking during a backbench business debate in the Commons about an independent review of children’s social care, published in May this year and led by former teacher Josh MacAlister.
The review called for a “radical reset” to improve the lives of children in care and their families and made more than 80 recommendations.
Mr Loughton welcomed the review, describing it as “extensive”, and congratulated its author “in what he has achieved in its publication”.
But he said: “The tragedy is it could have been written 10 years ago. There is nothing new, frankly, in this report.
“It’s largely a revisiting of many truths and deficiencies that those of us who have had the privilege of being on the front bench dealing with children’s issues have known and have tried to tackle with some success over so many years.”
He said “many of the problems” in the report were described in previous publications, and ran through a list of previous reviews, including one dating back to 2007.
“Everything mentioned in this report was mentioned in any of those reports and more going back 10 years. A limited amount of which has been enacted, but too much of which has not.
“And in that last decade, I’m afraid we have failed too many children by not taking up the challenge that those reports presented, putting in the resources and delivering the outcomes that some of our most vulnerable members in our society desperately needed.
“There have been many successes, I don’t want to underplay that. But too many children have been left behind. And that is the problem that we face today.
“It is no less urgent than it was 10, 12, 15 years ago,” he said.
Mr Loughton added: “It is, in many cases, depressing despite all the energies and the legislation and the changes in the regulations that have gone through, but we still find ourselves 10 years on facing many of these problems outlined in the MacAlister report, to which the solutions are frankly no different to what they were 10 or so years ago.”
Labour MP Rachael Maskell (York Central), who opened the debate, said children’s social services are “under-resourced and overwhelmed”.
And another Conservative former children’s minister, Edward Timpson, called on the Government to consider paying care leavers aged under 25 on universal credit the higher rate that is normally only paid to those aged over 25.
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