Our local authorities are under huge financial pressures, adoption rates are falling and the number of children taken into care is now at a 24 year high.
The coalition government has set itself the heady challenge of completely overhauling the way in which some of the country’s most vulnerable people are cared for in England and Wales.
As you can see from the following graph constructed using data from the Guardian, the trend of the number of requests to take children into care is definitely upwards.
As part of this effort Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, Tim Loughton MP, will address delegates at a unique event next week when healthcare analysts Laing & Buisson bring together a number of the country’s biggest players in the childcare sector.
Looked After Children Matter will explore and debate the ways in which services for children in care can achieve excellence, and most importantly in this time of shrinking government budgets, to what degree these services can be provided by the voluntary and private sector.
In addition to the ministerial address, the event – being held in central London – will include Jeremy Gleaden of both the government’s Looked After Children initiative and Cafcass, who will be on hand to explain the ways in which children are being put at the centre of the new inspection regime. And C4EO chief executive Christine Davies will deliver an importance speech on how to secure best value from partnership working.
Alongside these national policymakers there will be a range of commissioners and providers speaking to delegates. On a local government level these will include the head of children’s service in the London borough of Islington, Ida Cohen and the service manager of North Lincolnshire’s fostering services, Tracy Eaden.
Meanwhile, offering an insight into the provider’s story, there will be sessions from the National Fostering Agency’s marketing director Andrew Issac; group development manager of specialist education provider Witherslack Group, Mike Davey and the chief executive of The Fostering Partnership, Ian Pigden-Bennett.
Speaking ahead of the event the Children’s minister said:
‘Children in care are amongst the most vulnerable in society. It is our job to protect them – so they can grow up safe, happy and with bright prospects. We are fundamentally overhauling the system – speeding up adoptions for whom it is the most suitable; driving up recruitment of high quality foster carers; radically reforming child protection so social workers can get on with the job instead of being mired in paperwork; and strengthening residential care.’