Independent Review of Children's Social Care (England)

The Independent Review of Children's Social Care lasted 15-months starting in March 2021 and concluding in May 2022. The Government published their response 'Stable Homes, built on love' in February 2023 and are currently consulting on the implementation strategy. We will continue to make sure our members voices are heard in the implementation process.

The Government published their strategy response 'Stable Homes, Built on Love' at the beginning of February 2023 in response to Josh MacAlister's Independent Review of Children's Social Care in England. 

We welcome the £27 million investment for the retention and recruitment of foster carers over the next two years - foster care for too long has been overlooked and underfunded even though foster carers provide stable and loving homes for 70 per cent of children in care.

There are also positive changes which will have an immediate impact on foster care and the children they look after, including our campaign wins: 

  • 12.43 per cent increase to the national minimum allowance following our Cost of Fostering campaign
  • Mockingbird programme further embedded across the country
  • Retention will be looked at alongside plans to recruit more foster carers
  • Delegated authority by default
  • Staying Put extended to 23


Although we are delighted by the focus on foster care, this investment needs to be seen as a starting point to address the issues facing the sector.


Read our strategy response


Responses to the Independent Review of Children's Social care:

The Independent Review of Children's Social Care in England published their final report on the 23 May, after over a year of consulting with organisations within the sector, young people with care experience, foster carers, social workers and many others. You can find the full report here, as well as an easier to read version here. We have also created a summary of the recommendations relating to foster care here

The review has also published an open letter to foster carers, which you can find here

Thank you to all our members and young people with care experience for sharing their experiences with the Care Review team. We are pleased to see the recognition of the issues our members have raised for many years and throughout the review process be included within the report.

Read our initial response                                     Read our full response 

Following the publication of the final report, the Government will now need to work with all stakeholders, including foster carers and people with care experience to consider the details and what implementation will look like.

Previous responses to the review:  

We have four key asks of the Review. These recommendations are based on evidence and lived experience, informed by our 55,000 foster carer and 370 fostering service members, as well as through research. They have been carefully explored and developed and provide solutions which will not just paper over the cracks but which will help to provide a long-term firm foundation of skilled and well supported foster carers to improve outcomes for children and young people for the future.

While we welcomed aspects of the Case for Change document, published in June 2021, there was not a big enough focus on foster care and the changes needed to make it the best it can be. Foster carers are holding up the weight of the care system often without the resources, support and recognition that the vital role warrants. The continued failure to position foster carers firmly as part of the social care workforce and a key member of the team around the child risks undermining their ability to fully meet the needs of the children and young people they are caring for. 

Our submission includes the views of the fostering sector. We ran engagement events with 82 foster carers, 37 fostering service staff members, researchers and health professionals and 18 key national representatives of care experienced children, young people and foster carers, researchers and policy makers. The response also includes responses from over 7,000 foster carers who shared their views with us in the 2018 and 2021 State of the Nation's Foster Care surveys. 

* The Fostering Network is the lead replicator of Mockingbird in the UK and should maintain this role in any further roll-out with appropriate pre-consultation. In addition, any expressions of interest to roll out the Step Up, Step Down programme should also be done with appropriate pre-consultation with The Fostering Network.

After the review was announced in December 2019, the Government launched a consultation into unregulated accommodation for children in care due to growing concerns. This consultation acted as a first step for the review.  

We welcome your feedback on our recommendations which you can provide emailing us any comments or relevant experience.