Dr Carol Homden, CEO of the Coram Group, said: “The review presents a bold, realistic and coherent vision for rebalancing the system in interests of children, young people and families, with experience of care importantly proposed to become a protected characteristic. It is thoroughly informed by their views and experiences. What matters now is that we ensure children’s rights and best interests stand at the centre of implementation.
“Children in care today cannot afford delay and families face increasing pressures, so we look to government for positive commitment and – most importantly – for assurance that the recommendations will be fully funded. Coram stands ready to play its part in realising the ambitions for a step change for the next generation.”
James Bury, CoramBAAF Head of Policy, Research and Development, said: “CoramBAAF welcomes the publication of the review and its clear recognition that the current system lets down too many children, young people and families, as well as the professionals working to support them. Being in care has lifelong implications, consequences and impacts on children and young people. Making being care experienced a protected characteristic is a good step forward in ensuring these children and young people get the support and services they need and deserve throughout their lives.
“There are important reforms suggested around kinship care, including financial allowances for kinship carers, access to legal aid and a single legislative framework. These are long overdue, and we look forward to working with our members to implement them. The establishment of Regional Care Cooperatives (RCCs) is another important recommendation, aimed at improving the services that children and young people in care receive. We must make sure that these proposals support all and any routes to permanence, including adoption, fostering to adoption and early permanence.
“Over the coming weeks and months we will be working with and consulting our members to ensure their voices and experiences are heard.”
Brigid Robinson, Coram Voice Managing Director, said: “We welcome that, at the centre of the review is recognition of the need for urgent reform to meet the needs of children and young people. We welcome the focus on giving children and young people a genuine voice in their care through the provision of independent advocacy, and on judging the success of the care system by focusing on what matters to children and families.
“Trusting relationships are key to children and young people’s well-being and we welcome the focus on supporting and building these relationships for all children in care and care leavers. We await the government’s response and timetable for change. A National Voice, the national children in care council, will continue to champion children and young people’s views in the implementation of the review’s recommendations. We encourage children and young people to read the review and share their thoughts with us here so this can inform our future work. We will now read and respond fully to the recommendations, having taken the opportunity to consider how it addresses the issues that children and young people have told us are important to them.”
Rosalyn Akar Grams, Managing Director of Legal Practice and Children’s Rights, said: “We are pleased to see that the Review has considered Coram Children Legal Centre and the South London Refugee Association’s report ‘Taking Care: How local authorities can best address immigration issues of children in care’, that it recognises the importance of the wider context in which children come into the care system ,and acknowledges the particular challenges faced by migrant families and the one in ten children in care who are not British citizens. What is now needed is a commitment to ensure loving, nurturing care and equal protection for all children in the care system in England, irrespective of how they came into care, their nationality and or whether they have additional needs or disabilities.
“We welcome the recommendation of the review for the government to make good its promises to increase the availability of legal aid to all kinship carers. Early access to legal advice and representation for children, parents and carers is vital to ensuring the rights of children entering or within the care system are upheld.”
Notes for Editors
You can read the full review here.
The Department for Education and the Children’s Commissioner for England have published their initial response here.