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What is the Purpose of The Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers?

The Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers' is calling for a care system which promotes resilience and emotional wellbeing by helping children and young people to recover from past harm.

As part of the alliance, NYAS and the other organisations involved want to ensure that every single child has the best possible chance to recover from trauma and realise their full potential. To acheive this, the work of the alliance focuses on the three key themes listed below.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing of Children in Care and Care Leavers

Mental health and wellbeing have long been central to the Alliance’s work.

We have been successful in amending legislation to include specific arrangements for children in care and care leavers. The Alliance will work with policymakers to secure timely and tailored mental health support for all children from the moment they arrive into care.

We will monitor the progress of existing government commitments and will seek to influence new policy in this area.

Stability

The Alliance believes that stability is crucial to recovery from trauma, and that the gaps in the system which undermine stability must be addressed.

Stability of care placement as well as stability in relationships and educational settings are central to the well-being of children in care. For far too long, there has been insufficient focus on the idea of stability, to the detriment of helping looked after children and young people recover from the psychological impact of abuse and neglect.

The Alliance will continue to promote stability as key to supporting the resilience and emotional wellbeing of all children in and leaving care.

18+ and Care Leavers

Some progress has been made by the Alliance and other organisations in making the case for softening the cliff-edge that sees children in care and care leavers losing access to support services and having to leave care placements as soon as they turn 18.

The Alliance will continue to push for better funding for Staying Put and will monitor and seek to influence developments including Staying Close.

Alliance Briefings and Statements

December 2021: Submission to the Care Review’s Call for Ideas

The Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers submitted a response to the Care Review’s Call for Ideas, sharing five ways in which care-experienced children and young people could be better protected, supported and nurtured. The ideas covered were Rights, Mental health Advocacy, Care leaver homelessness ‘priority need’, Care leaver homelessness ‘intentionality’, and unregulated accommodation.

August 2021: Response to the Care Review’s Case for Change

In June 2021 the Care Review produced its first major publication, setting out its ‘case for change’ in children’s social care. The Alliance responded to this, challenging a number of findings and feeding into the review’s later ‘response to feedback’.

May 2021: Letter to the Care Review on children’s rights

As part of a wider coalition of coalitions working with children and young people in England, the Alliance urged the Care Review to publicly commit to upholding the provisions and principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) through its working methods, analytical framework and proposals for change.

In November 2021, the Care Review confirmed it would be conducting a Children’s Rights Impact Assessment of its upcoming recommendations, which was a key recommendation from the coalition of coalitions.

March 2021: Submission to the Care Review’s Call for Evidence

The next phase of the Care Review was seeking evidence of what works, gaps and challenges within children’s social care. The Alliance ‘Care Review subgroup’ was formed, chaired by Ali Gunn (Together Trust) to coordinate this and future sector-wide responses to the review process.

January 2021: Submission to the Care Review’s Call for Advice

As the Care Review launched in England, the Alliance coordinated a sector-wide response to their initial call for advice, helping to shape the early thinking of the review.

May 2020:  The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/445)

This letter was written to Children's Minister, Vicky Ford MP on behalf of The Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers to express concern about SI 445, which made unprecedented changes to regulations relating to the care and protection of vulnerable children and young people.

May 2017: Children and Social Work Act

The Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers welcomes the Children and Social Work Act which passed into law on the 27 April 2017. Our members worked together to inform the development of the Act and we are pleased that many of our suggestions have been enshrined in law.

We believe that the care system must promote resilience and emotional well-being by helping children and young people to recover from past harm. We are therefore pleased that the Act makes it explicit that local authorities should have regard to the mental as well as physical health and well-being children in care, as part of the new corporate parenting principles.

With the Act the Government has embraced the call in the Alliance’s Vision for Care to ensure that all care leavers have a personal advisor until the age of 25, whether or not they are in education or training.

April 2017: Promoting Looked After Children's Emotional Wellbeing and Recovery from Trauma Through Child-Centred Outcomes Framework

This paper examines options for assessing and measuring looked after children’s well-being and mental health outcomes across their care experience as mechanisms for assessing ‘good quality care’. It sets out proposals for Government on developing new measures and ways of using existing data more effectively to drive improvements across the system.

January 2017: Improving the Mental Health of Looked After Children and Care Leavers

This amendment will ensure that local authorities, supported by Clinical Commissioning Groups, promote the physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing of looked after children.

It specifically provides for a stronger requirement for the role of designated doctors and nurses for looked after children, providing strategic oversight in local areas to meet physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing needs.

Children in care and care leavers need to have a strategic champion who ensures that health and social care services can understand and meet their mental health and wellbeing needs.

January 2017: Mental Health Assessments for Looked After Children

This new clause requires the Secretary of State to make regulations for mental health and emotional wellbeing assessments for looked after children and care leavers. A time delay in commencement is included to allow time for the pilots to be completed before details of the regulations are decided.

January 2017: Suitable Accommodation for Care Leavers

This new clause  will establish a clear statutory duty on local authorities to secure sufficient, suitable accommodation for all care leavers up to age 21. Local authorities already have a duty to ensure sufficient accommodation for looked after children in their area.

This clause will introduce a similar duty on local authorities to ensure sufficient, suitable accommodation for all care leavers up to the age of 21.

Meet the Alliance Co-Chairs

Ben Twomey

Director of Policy and Research at NYAS

Ben has held regional and national roles in both the voluntary and public sector, and leads NYAS’ campaigning, research and policy programme across England and Wales.

You can contact Ben by emailing ben.twomey@nyas.net

David Graham

National Director at the Care Leavers Association

David's national role involves leading the Care Leavers’ Association’s policy, media, finance, strategy and fundraising across the UK.

You can contact David by emailing david.graham@careleavers.com 

Got More Questions?

If you have further questions about the alliance, or any of NYAS' services, please do get in touch.

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