Children’s social care is a core pillar of my work as Children’s Commissioner following ‘The Big Ask’, which was the largest-ever survey of children. This survey demonstrated that children in care want the same security and stability, of home, relationships and education, as other children. Children explained that they want the care system to provide them with a supportive foundation to achieve their goals, and to set them up for happy, healthy lives, in which they can thrive, as well as strong relationships with the grown-ups in their lives that last into adulthood.
Children in care and those receiving support from children’s social care share the same hopes and aspirations as their peers. Some children told me about care they received from foster carers, social workers, adoptive parents and other professionals, which they were really grateful for. They also told me though about some of the bureaucratic processes which they found frustrating or alienating. Among children in care aged 9—17, the majority (63%) said they are happy with their life, and 68% said they are happy with their family life.
As one child said, “they took me into their family home and were like we’re going to treat you as a normal kid, so you don’t need to kick off. It’s a normal family home, I don’t see it as my foster home. I see it as my home, my parents” – Girl, age not given.
My work within this pillar will focus on raising the ambition we have as a society for children growing up in care, including for the support they receive from everyone around them. In January, I published my vision for the children’s social care system, Putting Children’s Voices at the Heart of Reform, which set out some practical ways, based on what children have told me, we could improve the system of support. I also set out a new approach for how services could be delivered in a child centred way. To support this, I am working on an outcomes framework for all professionals working with children so that everyone is relentlessly focussed on children’s outcomes and experiences, as well as a project on how to promote and facilitate data sharing.