28th July 2022

Reforming children’s homes: a policy plan of action

Last year, nearly 6,000 young people in care responded to The Big Ask survey about their own experiences of the care system, apprehensions about and ambitions for the future, and outlook on life. In response to these findings, in January my office produced a report which laid out some of the fundamental reforms required across the whole care sector in order to deliver for children and young people.

This week, I have been working on further developing my office’s policies to support children living in social care, and I want to provide an update today on what some of my office’s ideas and ambitions include.

On Monday, I published a video online which specifically touched upon my interest in driving up the standards of care that children and young people who live in children’s homes receive.

The policy paper I am launching today highlights the seven core expectations that we as professionals and leaders should meet for every child in a children’s homes. These include: ensuring that children in need of a home should be able to find a placement close to their existing home or community; that every child should be able to trust that their children’s home place will be theirs as long as they need it; that every home should be giving children the ability to develop and pursue their interests; and that every child in a home should be heard, seen and safe.

We need to have far higher standards about the homes in which we place our children. The paper my office is publishing today does propose practical recommendations ready to be applied across the care system, rather than a focus on repeating previous papers and diagnosing faults in the current system.

I am confident the recommendations in this paper will transform the way we view care and allow children to live in settings which feel like homes rather than institutions, and which provide them with the links to family, friends, and school which we know are so vital. I look forward to working with colleagues to drive our policies through to implementation.