Last week was a busy week in parliament what with the latest revelations about what has or has not been going on at Downing Street and the very welcome measures from the Chancellor to help millions of households with the huge cost of living squeeze we are all facing. I have written up my views on those and many other issues in my latest newsletter out this week.
However, there was also a very important announcement regarding children’s social care which got crowded out with all the other news, but which is certainly worthy of closer inspection. Whilst adult social care has featured significantly on the Government’s radar and is an issue concerning many thousands of my constituents’ children’s social care only seems to hit the headlines when we hear about yet another tragic child death often at the hands of parents or carers. Yet the number of children in care in England has passed 80,000 exacerbated by much child abuse going on undetected behind closed doors during lockdown.
There are also concerns about the number of social workers leaving the profession has been rising and the number of school age children suffering from some form of mental illness. So the publication of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care this week which promises a ‘once in a generation opportunity to reform children’s social care’ really is an important document. Having commissioned similar reviews when I was Children’s Minister it is frustrating that many of the conclusions it draws mirrored many of the issues I was dealing with 10 years ago.
It is not rocket science and there really is little new, but the crucial thing will be the implementation. As we said in the piece I co-authored in the Times last week with former Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield ‘This review cannot be kicked into the long grass without putting more children at risk. Failing to act now can no longer be a financial or moral option. It is time to get on with it before someone calls for yet another review.’ We will be watching.
See you all at the Jubilee.