SCIE consultation response: Care Matters (DfES)

Published: February 2007

SCIE welcomes the opportunity to comment on the proposals set out in Care Matters.  We are in no doubt that there are a number of areas that require significant improvement in the way we provide services for looked after children. We support the premise for the proposals that our goals for children in care should be the same as our goals for our own children.

However, we are concerned that the case for reform is made partly on the basis that children in care are over represented in vulnerable groups such as young offenders, drug users and prostitutes. We would emphasise the heterogeneity of the 60,000 children and young people in care at any one time who are from different backgrounds, are at different life stages and who follow different care pathways.

Nonetheless, to its credit, the Green Paper has highlighted a range of problems in the current planning and practice of child care social work and outlined some innovative proposals to deal with them. Drawing on our extensive and relevant work in this field we have evaluated many of those proposals and the basis on which they are formulated.

In our response, we have also drawn on the views of delegates from our ‘Care Matters expert seminar', which was held in January 2007. The seminar was attended by over 40 delegates including policy makers and practitioners and representatives from national youth organisations, schools and research institutions.