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Today I am sharing a blog post written by a care leaver in my team. Benita wanted to share some thoughts after attending The Big Ambition for Children’s Social Care roundtable.

A few weeks ago the Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza co-hosted The Big Ambition for Children’s Social Care with her recently appointed Ambassadors. The purpose of the roundtable was to discuss the initial findings of The Big Ambition survey and how these can be translated into policy recommendations to improve the lives of children.  

Leaders and experts from across the children’s social care sector gathered to discuss the issues impacting children and young people interacting with the children’s social care system. Underpinning the roundtable was the key question: “What one thing could government do to improve the lives of children who interact with the children’s social care system?”

It was fascinating to hear different perspectives, especially from the Ambassadors. From my experience as a care leaver, the one thing I would ask the government to do would be to invest more money in social care services, finance arrangements, provide additional support for kinship care and ensure that families are kept together where possible. 

During the roundtable we heard about a number of issues impacting the lives of children within the children’s social care system today, with common issues being the rise in vaping among young people, the cost-of-living crisis – especially the rising cost food, the experiences of health care and the real expectations for the future.  

While these factors impact many people, I was surprised at the lack of investment and priority placed on mental health services. As someone with personal experience with mental health, I am aware that more needs to be done in this area.  

Those who have grown up in the social care system because of their personal background are often vulnerable and may not feel as though they have a supporting unit. In order to ensure they receive the support they need, more needs to be done. 

One quote which stuck out to me from the responses to The Big Ambition was from a 10-year-old girl who said: “Everyone should have a safe place to live. They want somebody to love them and treat them well like their family.”  

The roundtable was an important reminder that the voices of children matter. It was evident how engaged everyone was during the session, with many of the leaders being aware of the importance of providing more opportunities, support and resources to children in order to ensure they are given the best possible start in live. 

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