Joint response from ICHA & NAFP to ADCS Discussion Paper - Building a country that works for all children post Covid-19, 16 July 2020

We welcome this considered and detailed discussion from ADCS as an important contribution to all of its three purposes, namely:

  • To put children, young people and their lived experiences of Covid-19 front and centre in national recovery planning
  • To articulate what is needed to restore the public support services they rely on

  • And, to capture the positives and gains made during a very complex national, and indeed, global emergency

Children and young people in care living with foster carers and in children's homes have generally fared well during the Covid-19 pandemic. More than that, many children in care have thrived in this time. Early messages suggest they have built stronger relationships with foster carers and children's homes staff. Children have been able to keep in regular video contact with their social workers and wider families. Alongside this, the space that has been created for children without the often added in-person pressures and anxiety that can come from attending school or care meetings of various kinds has helped them to feel more stable and settled. Young people tell us that they feel more in control and we should listen to them.

This positive aspect of lockdown has been in no small part a direct result of the time, commitment and care shown by foster carers and children's home staff during lockdown. We are delighted that ADCS have recognised this throughout the discussion paper. We agree with ADCS that 'A renewed "common purpose" has galvanised partnership working'. This has been echoed by our local authority partners right across the country. Indeed, independent children's services providers have received multiple messages of support and appreciation from many local authorities and we feel it has brought our sectors closer. This bodes well for the continued collaboration and joint work between local authorities and independent providers to offer the best possible care for children.

There are many challenges ahead, as articulated by ADCS in this discussion paper. 93% of independent fostering agencies and 80% of private children’s homes are already rated good or outstanding by Ofsted and only 1.6% of private children’s homes are rated inadequate, but we will continue to strive for even better care for children and work closely with our local authority partners to make this a reality.

Notes:

The Independent Children's Homes Association (ICHA) represents 70% of private and voluntary children’s home providers caring for around 4,000 children and young people. The Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers (NAFP) represents 95% of children placed with independent and voluntary sector fostering agencies (IFAs), around 20,000 children and young people.

Building a country that works for all children post Covid-19, ADCS 14 July 2020