The Government have been criticised for pledging just one-fifth of the recommended funding for social care reform, offering £200 million over two years as opposed to £2.6 billion over five years.
The announcement of the new funding came as ministers published the children’s social care implementation strategy as their response to the MacAlister independent review of children’s social care.
The Local Government Chronicle reports that Claire Coutinho, minister for children, families and wellbeing said: “Children in care deserve the same love and stability as everyone else. Yet we’ve seen from the two tragic murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson that more needs to be done to protect our most vulnerable children.
“Our wide-ranging reforms will put strong relationships at the heart of the care system. From supporting our brilliant foster carers, kinship carers and social workers to getting early help to families and improving children’s homes, we want every child to get the support and protection they need.”
Josh MacAlister, the review’s author, welcomed some elements of the government response but believes that the government’s current proposals do not go far enough to address the wider issues in the sector. He writes that “the government’s plan gets us started down the right path, but it must go further and faster if it is to reach the tipping point of change that children need.”
The Guardian reports that the Government has also rejected the review’s recommendation that it levy a windfall tax on what MacAlister had previously called “indefensible” profits of private care providers. The heads of council children’s services have previously described private children’s home operators and their private equity fund backers as being “rapacious”.
Ministers have pledged that children in England will be placed closer to their families rather than being housed far away from their parental support systems.
The Local Government Association described the proposals as a long-term approach that would not tackle the crisis or meet the “urgent need for immediate action.”