SCIE’s Response To Care Matters White Paper

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has welcomed the positive emphasis on stability in the Care Matters White Paper.

The measures reflect many of SCIE’s recommendations drawn from work with care-experienced young people, parents, practitioners and researchers.  

Chair of SCIE, Allan Bowman, welcomed the challenging political initiative of raising the national profile of the lives of children in care. Speaking about the paper, he said that care-experienced young people will particularly benefit from support after the age of 16 and more structured ways of participating in service development.

“Young people from care have told us that they want stability, to be listened to, taken seriously, involved fully in decisions about their lives, and helped to become independent adults. High-level support for young people during their transition to adulthood is vital to build the necessary resilience, self-esteem and empowerment to progress with confidence.

“Our work has shown that services are more likely to change and improve when children and young people are involved at every stage of planning and delivery. Given the right level of child-focussed support, young people can feel a sense of ownership, pride and responsibility over the services that affect their lives and others like them.”

SCIE also welcomes the recognition of the potential benefits of care alternatives within a young person’s family circle, but acknowledges that this can be a complicated process that requires careful planning and consideration.

Allan Bowman continued: “For most care experienced young people, their parents and families remain important figures in their lives, and this needs to be respected. Research into ‘kinship care’ has found many positive outcomes, but this must be embedded in the policy framework, addressed in social work training and routinely considered as a realistic care alternative that can prevent vulnerable children and young people from entering local authority care. We would advocate more research into this area, and will support the development of evidence-based good practice.”

The move to build on the National Minimum Standards for foster care is also recognised as an important step forward. Allan Bowman said: “Foster carers need to be recognised for the professional, important and skilled role they play in the lives of young people. Training and standards will enhance their development. We look forward to working with DfES, young people’s organisations, the Children’s Workforce Development Council, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services and Ofsted to take this further and support the implementation of the White Paper measures.”