This Government believes that every child, regardless of their background, should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. That is why we are proposing broad-ranging and far-reaching reforms to the children and social care system.
The new Children and Social Work Bill will build on the huge steps we have already taken to enable children in care to stay with their former foster families after they turn 18, to deliver a world-class adoption system and to support high quality training and development of social workers.
There are a number of new measures in this bill. Local authorities will follow a new set of principles that clarify how they can promote and defend the interests of the children who leave their care. There will be a new requirement for local authorities to consult on and publish a report setting out the support available for those leaving care in their area, and to ensure that they all have access to a personal adviser up to age 25. This will provide a clearer picture of what a local authority’s role as a good ‘corporate parent’ looks like, ensuring that all children in care and leaving care are able to fulfil their potential.
Provisions will be included that ensure the needs of children are paramount in court decisions about their adoption or long-term care. These will take into account any harm they have suffered, the long-term plan for their upbringing and their relationship with their prospective adopter. With these new provisions, court decisions will more reliably provide the best possible outcome for the children involved.
A new body will also be set up designed to regulate and improve the quality of the social work profession. Detailed arrangements will be set out in regulations which will allow the new body to set standards for social work training, establishing a robust regulatory system designed to raise standards and support continuous professional development. The new body will apply to the whole social work profession, including adult social work.
This bill will take significant steps towards meeting the Government’s ambition of ensuring that vulnerable children, especially those who grow up in the care system, have the best possible chance in life and will be able to fulfil all of their potential.