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Government announces review of children’s social care

New review

29 January 2021
Government announces review of children’s social care

The government has announced a wide-ranging review of children’s social care, which will look at how the system responds to children referred and how provision of services in different parts of the system influence children’s outcomes and experiences later on. The review’s terms of reference highlight the poorer outcomes experienced by adults who have been through the care system as a rationale for conducting the review, which will focus on formal and informal care settings and arrangements for children. The review will decide whether to consider adoption support and support for care leavers, and care leavers’ organisations have stressed the importance of including their experiences in understanding and addressing the causes of poor experiences for looked-after children once they become adults.

The review will focus around seven themes, with questions looking at support, strengthening families, safety, care, delivery, sustainability and accountability. It aims to address major challenges including the increase in the numbers of looked-after children, inconsistencies in social care practice, outcomes across different areas and the system’s failures in providing enough stable homes for children.

Josh MacAlister, a former teacher and founder of Frontline, a fast-track training provider for social workers funded by the Department for Education, is leading the review. He has stepped down from Frontline in order to chair the review. His appointment has been welcomed by some leaders in the children’s sector including the Children’s Commissioner. However, others, such as children’s rights charity Article 39, have raised concerns about this appointment and the independence of the review, noting that the chair was appointed to the role directly, rather than through a formal appointment process.

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