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Response to BBC News article: Children in care homes ‘seen as criminals not victims’

Olly Swann

Olly Swann our Lead Director for Children’s Services, responds to today’s BBC News article: Children in care homes ‘seen as criminals not victims’

This article chimes with our experience implementing our innovative Valuing Care approach with councils across the country. Children and young people in care achieve their best outcomes when support and interventions are tailored to meet their individual needs. Yet our analysis continues to show that the links between children’s needs and councils’ spending levels are weak at best. There is often no evidence that the best outcomes have been achieved or that the system is fair.

There are a bewildering range of agencies, people, processes, forms and systems involved in finding the right care for children, and no single person or organisation has control. As a result the young person’s story is too often reduced to labels, risks or a list of things they cannot do. Not only does this make it difficult to find the right carer or home for the young person, it also gets in the way of setting ambitious goals for the future. Any placement, often at any cost, has become good enough, and containment of risk is an acceptable outcome in itself.

Dr Krish Kandiah, Chair of the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board, and foster carer himself joined IMPOWER’s Away Day last week to share with us the importance of giving every child a chance, and the damage of labelling. Giving children a label completely disregards their positive qualities and opportunities for growth. We have a moral responsibility to support every child and improve their life chances. We cannot just accept the label that they are branded with.

As a country, we can and must do better. Taking a child into care is the most important intervention the state can ever make – we need to put humanity back into public services to ensure that care is consistently a loving and life-enabling experience.

Written by

Olly Swann



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