Response to The Case for Change
The Independent Children’s Homes Association welcomes the Governments interest in rethinking the care system and agrees with Josh that the starting point should be ‘if creating care today what would it look like’.
ICHA endorses the reports assertion that a thorough and bottom-up review of the care system for the benefit of children and their families must be a priority.
To this end, we support the need to look at early intervention and the establishment of family help systems rather than current crisis interventions identified by the rise in s47 investigations leading to nowhere. For many children and families, the right help at the right time would bring massive savings later on yet we see a 35% cut in non-statutory spending. It is these non-statutory interventions that can clearly have a significant impact on children’s later lives.
There is no argument, residential care whether provided by the public or private sector is expensive. These costs are due to many factors with the sheer volume of care staff and associated professionals being by far the highest contributing factor. Whilst we focus on private provider’s cost, the PSSRU 2020 clearly demonstrate that year on year, local authority homes cost considerably more, with no corresponding improvement in their care outcomes compared to independent providers. Similarly, the 40% increase in fees sited in the report is actually less than the real cost increases in the running of a registered children’s home over the 8 years
Nonetheless, as the CFC acknowledges, for some children it is the right option. Does this therefore suggest a change in the way we use homes? Early intervention utilising homes that work hand in hand with follow on services would allow that space to find the best long-term placement for children avoiding a plethora of moves. This would also go a long way in helping improve the identified issue of poor reunification.
The task being undertaken by Josh and the Care Review Team is long overdue and the Call for Change clearly demonstrates the size of that task. The ICHA will both support the review and provide robust challenge where required utilising our considerable experience and knowledge of the sector.
Notes to Editors
The Independent Children’s Homes Association Ltd (ICHA) is the voice of providers of residential child care services and resources across England and Wales. We are a Not-for-Profit Limited Company.
ICHA’s Vision: ‘Exemplary Residential Child Care.’
ICHA’s Mission: ‘A member-led organisation driving excellence in residential child care through innovation, collaboration and sector leadership’.
ICHA represents both large and small providers. Some members have just one home whilst others have many homes across a wide geographic area.
DCEO of ICHA