I am delighted to introduce ‘Shining a Light’, our third collection of children’s services essays. This edition is themed around a single, topical question for the sector: are we valuing care?
The essayists in this collection are:
- Harvey Gallagher, Chief Executive, Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers
- Colin Green, independent consultant
- Ebony Hughes, Assistant Director, IMPOWER
- Marion Ingram, Operations Director for Specialist Services at Hertfordshire County Council
- Steve Kay, Director of Children and Families, North East Lincolnshire Council
- Mark Owers, independent children’s services adviser
This collection brings to life some of the issues we are addressing through our innovative Valuing Care programme. Despite some great social work practice, and the best efforts of those working across the sector, the system for placements commissioning is failing the children in our care. Huge investment decisions into a young person’s future are being made without adequate consideration of what a young person needs, or how the delivery of important outcomes will be managed. At a time when resources are so precious, we must tighten our control on the money spent on children in care to ensure it is making a positive difference.
The essays in this collection explore this context, both directly and indirectly. A variety of perspectives and areas of focus are presented – but with a unifying theme; despite the challenges, it is possible to bring about positive change and improve outcomes. Please do take the time to read through these essays, to share them with colleagues and to let us know your own thoughts and experiences.