2 February 2023

The Department for Education has today published Stable Homes, Built on Love, its long term Children’s Social Care Implementation Strategy.

The strategy (PDF) comes in response to recommendations made by three independent reviews by Josh MacAlister, the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel into the tragic murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson, and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The strategy aims to transform the current care system to focus on more early support for families, reducing the need for crisis response at a later stage.

Specific measures announced in the strategy include:

  • Family Help: Up to 12 local areas will test a new approach to Family Help to provide increased, evidence-based support for families to overcome issues to prevent problems from escalating.
  • Kinship care: There will be a focus on improved support and reducing barriers to kinship care, including investing £9 million in a kinship care training and support offer for all kinship carers.
  • Workforce: Actions to improve workforce stability, including the introduction of an Early Career Framework for social workers.
  • National Framework and Dashboard: A National Framework which sets out the outcomes that should be achieved across all local authorities.

The department is now consulting on the strategy, with a separate consultation on the national framework and dashboard.

Our view

The RCSLT welcomes the publication of the strategy, which is an important step forward in improving support for children and families.

However, it will be crucial that within the proposed measures, there is a recognition that speech, language and communications needs (SLCN) are particularly prevalent amongst children and young people in touch with social care services – evidence suggests around 60% have SLCN.

This might include:

  • Family Help teams to include speech and language therapists, to evaluate the impact that speech and language therapy can have for these families.
  • Kinship care training to include training in how to recognise and support children with SLCN.
  • Recognition that measures to improve the children’s social care must be part of a wider plan for the children’s workforce across education, health and social care.
  • The Early Career Framework for social workers to include the knowledge and skills required to recognise and support children with SLCN.

The RCSLT will be working to develop a response to the consultation in the coming weeks. For more information and to get involved, please contact Caroline Wright: caroline.wright@rcslt.org.

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