Kids Decide What Makes a Good Care Service

Children and young people receiving care services have set out 50 key messages on what makes a good service and what they want, in a report launched by the Children’s Rights Director for England.

These messages have been sent to the Government as a contribution to the forthcoming Green Paper on looked after children, and act as the official children’s input to the current review of the National Minimum Standards (NMS) for children’s services.

Children and young people say that they want to be treated as individuals, to have a say, to be listened to, to have choices in decisions affecting them, and to be offered services that do what they think is important.

Other messages highlighting what is important to children include:

  • Social workers should not change so often
  • Complaints procedures need to work better
  • Contact should be maintained even if children and young people are placed a long way from home
  • Better care planning and reviews are needed
  • Being expelled from school should not mean the end of their education

The report is divided into two sections. The first contains key messages from children and young people in all care services, collated from discussions on a variety of subjects, with additional messages taken from discussions specifically undertaken for this report.

The second section contains specific messages from children and young people representing each type of care service: children’s homes, foster care, adoption placements, residential special schools, boarding schools, residential further education colleges or residential family centres.

Dr Roger Morgan, Children’s Rights Director, said: “Over the years, I have received very consistent messages from children in all settings that I believe add up to a charter of what is important to children living away from home or receiving care services.

The fact that the Government is carrying out two major policy developments – reviewing National Minimum Standards and writing a Green Paper – give the ideal opportunity to put these messages forward on behalf of children and young people.

These messages deserve to be taken fully on board by those now working on the future policy and national standards, to make ensure they both reflect what children themselves say is important to them.”

Dame Denise Platt, Chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspection, said: “Children’s views on what makes a good service should be central to the Government’s review of National Minimum Standards.

Ministers should listen closely to what they say and ensure that national standards are based on what matters most to children and young people.”

For more information on the top 50 messages and additional special messages, please visit