Children’s IAG Hails New Proposals

Members of the children’s interagency group (IAG)* have welcomed today’s publication of Care Matters – a government Green Paper concerning children in care. It also welcomes the opportunity to engage in considering the future provision for children in care during the further consultation process to come.

According to IAG chair John Coughlan, “we share the government’s determination to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable children and young people in our society.”

The IAG was created because it was felt that all the agencies concerned with children – statutory and voluntary – need to work together to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable children. The Group worked with government to develop the Green Paper Every Child Matters and the subsequent Children Act 2004.

According to Mr Coughlan, “collectively we have steered the process of integrating  services around the needs of children. Outcomes for children in care have been improving, but not fast enough. All the reports from the past have suggested that the barriers to improvement have stemmed from the failure of relevant authorities to join services up.

“Now that the process of joining up has started, the time is right to concentrate afresh on new ideas for meeting the needs of children in care.”

There are over a hundred recommendations in the green paper, most of which have been drawn from examples of good practice that IAG members have been applying. To a considerable degree many IAG members’ ideas have been included in the consultation.

Mr Coughlan pledged to consider all the detailed proposals against three key criteria:

* Does the proposal place the interest and welfare of the child first?

* Does the proposal promote a joined-up approach, with staff from all
backgrounds working towards common aims?

* Does the proposal make accountability clear and unambiguous, so that
everyone understands their own role and the role of others?