The Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers

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The Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers is a coalition of organisations that work to support children in care and care leavers.

What the Alliance is calling for

The Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers’ A New Vision calls for a clearer framework on what care should be aiming for, and for the gaps in the system to be addressed. The care system must promote resilience and emotional wellbeing by helping children and young people to recover from past harm.

  • Greater support and training for primary carers and key workers in children’s homes – so they can help children overcome past experiences and build positive relationships.
  • Mechanisms for assessing the quality of care from the child’s perspective – and accountability when a placement doesn’t work for them.
  • Measurement of children’s wellbeing and progress throughout their care experience – rather than one-off outcomes, so we understand when children are doing well and when they need more support.
  • Care that meets the day-to-day emotional needs of children – but with timely access to specialist mental health support if needed.
  • Continued support when young people leave care – so they are not expected to become independent earlier than their peers. 
     
 

 

Alliance briefings and statements

May 2017: Children and Social Work Act
The Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers welcomes the Children and Social Work Act which passed into law on the 27 April 2017. Our members worked together to inform the development of the Act and we are pleased that many of our suggestions have been enshrined in law.

We believe that the care system must promote resilience and emotional well-being by helping children and young people to recover from past harm. We are therefore pleased that the Act makes it explicit that local authorities should have regard to the mental as well as physical health and well-being children in care, as part of the new corporate parenting principles.

With the Act the Government has embraced the call in the Alliance’s Vision for Care to ensure that all care leavers have a personal advisor until the age of 25, whether or not they are in education or training.

Read the full statement here.

April 2017: Promoting Looked After Children's Emotional Wellbeing and Recovery from Trauma Through Child-Centred Outcomes Framework
This paper examines options for assessing and measuring looked after children’s well-being and mental health outcomes across their care experience as mechanisms for assessing ‘good quality care’. It sets out proposals for Government on developing new measures and ways of using existing data more effectively to drive improvements across the system.

January 2017: Improving the Mental Health of Looked After Children and Care Leavers
This amendment will ensure that local authorities, supported by Clinical Commissioning Groups, promote the physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing of looked after children. It specifically provides for a stronger requirement for the role of designated doctors and nurses for looked after children, providing strategic oversight in local areas to meet physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing needs. Children in care and care leavers need to have a strategic champion who ensures that health and social care services can understand and meet their mental health and wellbeing needs.

January 2017: Mental Health Assessments for Looked After Children
This new clause requires the Secretary of State to make regulations for mental health and emotional wellbeing assessments for looked after children and care leavers. A time delay in commencement is included to allow time for the pilots to be completed before details of the regulations are decided.

January 2017: Suitable Accommodation for Care Leavers
This new clause will establish a clear statutory duty on local authorities to secure sufficient, suitable accommodation for all care leavers up to age 21. Local authorities already have a duty to ensure sufficient accommodation for looked after children in their area. This clause will introduce a similar duty on local authorities to ensure sufficient, suitable accommodation for all care leavers up to the age of 21.

 

The chairs

Vicki Swain, Campaigns Manager at The Fostering Network (vicki.swain@fostering.net)
Vicki has worked in policy and campaigns in the charity sector for over 17 years and has represented The Fostering Network on the Alliance since 2011. 

Kate Lawson, Policy Manager at The Fostering Network (kate.lawson@fostering.net)
Kate has been a member of the Alliance for a number of years, her background is in policy and she has worked in both the voluntary and public sectors.
 
Madeleine Jennings, Public and Political Affairs Officer at the British Association of Social Workers (madeleine.jennings@basw.co.uk
Madeleine was previously co-lead of the Alliance’s Implementation & Lobbying sub-group, her background is in campaigns
 

Organisations involved

Action for Children
Article 39
Barnardo’s
Become
British Association of Social Workers (BASW)
Catch22
Children’s Commissioner for England
Children England
Children’s Rights Alliance England
CoramBAAF
Coram Children’s Legal Centre
Coram Voice
Drive Forward Foundation
Family Rights Group
Fostering Through Social Enterprise (FtSE)
Institute of Recovery from Childhood Trauma
Leap Confronting Conflict
Migrant and Refugee Children’s Legal Unit
National Association of Independent Reviewing Officers (NAIRO)
National Children’s Bureau (NCB)
NSPCC
National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS)
TACT
The Care Leavers’ Association
The Children’s Society
The Fostering Network
The Prince’s Trust
St Christophers Fellowship
Together Trust
Young Minds

All of the organisations that make up the Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers work to an agreed Terms of Reference.