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Children’s residential care sector overwhelmed by seven reviews

Seven government or parliamentary reviews that are placing demands on the small residential child care sector are overwhelming respondents, it has been warned.

With seven reviews currently requiring answers from the children’s services sector, the National Centre for Excellence in Residential Care warns that with no coordination and no consistency there is potential for contradictory conclusions.

The report highlights that ‘you wait three decades for a review of children’s care and seven come along at once’.

As a result, residential child care is facing several reviews each demanding attention.

“How is it possible that all of these reviews have emerged in such close proximity? More importantly do they appreciate that the responses that they will each receive will be limited by virtue of their competing demands for information and data from the same sources? It is inevitable then that the reviews will have flawed evidence by being incomplete. The residential child care sector does not have the resources to respond to all of the reviews in the depth required,” said the report.

The seven review are as follows:

- Government Care Review

- An investigation by the Competitions and Marketing Authority will examine the lack of availability and increasing costs in children’s social care provision, including children’s homes and fostering

- Inquiry by the House of Commons Education Select Committee on children’s homes

- APPG for looked after children and care leavers

- House of Lords vulnerable children inquiry

- SEND Review

- Children’s Commissioner “Beveridge Report for children”

The NCERC states that the multiple reviews produce obstacles to the efficient and effective production of the evidence each review requires. There is repetition in the reviews, and there are slight changes that make for a completely new submissions being necessary. Avoiding duplication and overlap, and bureaucracy has recently been seen as an aid to democratic involvement.

“The number of reviews present a serious issue. There are obstacles that will prevent the children’s homes sector responding in the depth and detail that will inform the reviews,” said the report.

“Diluting a response to each of the reviews will likely mean that the sector is evaluated as being short on evidence of the absolute worth and value of residential care to those children who have not and cannot thrive in, or can be found or simply do not want an alternative “…loving, stable and safe family,”” the report concluded.

Reviewing the reviews from residential child care

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