NYAS submitted evidence to the Education Select Committee on the implications of COVID-19 on children’s social care. Our submission had two parts, the first providing evidence to a question asked by a care leaver we work with, Charlotte, and the second giving evidence as to how we can move forward. Our evidence was published here.
To answer the question posed by Charlotte, we pointed to the 65 losses or dilutions of rights and protections that Statutory Instrument 445 (SI 445) makes to the protection of care-experienced children and young people in England, at a time that we have seen our safeguarding referral rate triple compared to the same period last year.
To move forward, we made seven recommendations to the Committee, including increasing funding for children’s services, and the direct involvement of care-experienced children and young people in the decisions made about them. You can read our full submission here.
NYAS wrote to the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments and asked them to raise SI 445 for the special attention of Parliament. Later that month the law was reported by the Committee to the House as a result of ‘defective drafting.’
NYAS have responded to a Department for Education consultation on reforms to unregulated provision for children in care and care leavers. Whilst our submission welcomed proposals to ban unregulated accommodation for under 16s, we highlighted that all children are at risk within unregulated accommodation, and that current proposals do not go far enough in holding providers accountable through inspection and regulation. Read our evidence here.
Ben Twomey, NYAS Head of Policy and Research has presented oral evidence at the parliamentary inquiry launched by the Women and Equalities Committee after submitting a detailed written response earlier in the year.
The inquiry is looking at the issues that affect mental health for men and boys in a bid to establish what more can be done to address the problem. It will explore the different factors leading to mental health problems in men and boys, the barriers they face when accessing support and how frontline services can be more inclusive to overcome this.
We used the opportunity to place a spotlight on the mental health issues faced by the care-experienced men and boys that it works with and to stress how the right support can prevent these individuals and others like them from spiralling into further difficulties.
NYAS is working with the Committee to ensure their final report also reflects the voices of the men and boys we work with who are facing mental health issues. Our submission also includes five key recommendations to the Committee that relate to education, criminal justice, transitioning to adult services and the right to advocacy.
NYAS have responded to an inquiry held by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Runaway and Missing Children and Adults. The topic of the inquiry was children who go missing from ‘out of area’ care placements, which includes residential children’s homes.
Drawing on the data we hold from our ‘Return Interview’ services across the country, NYAS’ evidenced the scale and nature of some of the issues facing care-experienced young people who go missing, and our report can be found here.
We are working with the Parliamentary Group to empower children and young people to have a direct input into their inquiry. This is in keeping with our key recommendation that the child’s wishes and feelings must be taken into account in decisions made about their placement and their lives. Read full report here.
The UK Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee invited written submissions to their inquiry into the mental health of men and boys. NYAS’ response was accepted and published by the Committee, read and download the full report.