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2nd February 2023

Solace response to the Children’s Social Care Implementation Strategy

Ade Adetosoye, Solace spokesperson for Children & Families, said: “After engaging extensively with the reviews by Josh MacAlister and the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel it’s positive to see progress on some of their respective recommendations.

“Prioritising more help and support for families is something Solace has called for, albeit on a wider scale than what is currently on offer, and the piloting approach announced should further strengthen the evidence base for such an approach more broadly. Hopefully this signals the start of a much-needed shift in the Government’s emphasis towards prevention and early intervention.

“We are supportive of plans to increase the leaving care allowance, while the extra investment in the recruitment and retention of foster carers and more child and family social worker apprentices is also welcome. However, the gaps in the wider workforce are many and vast and the recruitment and retention of qualified social workers should also be prioritised.

“Even with the extra funding announced at the Autumn Statement and subsequent finance settlement, local authorities are struggling to manage the needs of children in care and child protection. So while recognising the broader picture for public finances, it is somewhat disappointing that the funding sitting behind today’s announcement represents less than 10% of what Josh MacAlister said was required in order to implement in full the recommendations of his review and seize what he called this ‘once in a generation opportunity to reset children’s social care’. As such, while much of today’s announcement is welcome, it still feels like a missed opportunity to introduce the type of more fundamental reform that is needed.”