Policy Briefings

TACT’s policy briefings look specifically at policies that have implications for children and young people that are currently in care or are leaving care. Each of our policy briefings aim to provide a comprehensive look at the most up to date and relevant policy developments complete with high quality analysis and comment of that policy.

TACT Policy Briefings

Below are a list of our briefings produced for debates and statements in Parliament.  For further information please email j.ali@tactcare.org.uk or call 020 8695 2315.

Briefing on 'Foster Care in England - A Review for the Department of Education' - February 2018

This briefing considers Foster Care in England, a report from Sir Martin Narey and Mark
Owers’ independent review of foster care which was commissioned and published by the Department for Education on 6 February 2018.

The review began in April 2017 under the title National fostering stocktake: call for evidence. The report summarises its findings and sets out 36 recommendations to improve the fostering system for children and foster carers.

Nadhim Zahawi MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, welcomed the report and announced that he will look at its findings alongside the Education Select Committee Report on foster care published in December 2017. He will draw from both reports “in order to determine how they can help us to make sustainable improvements to the fostering system and to the outcomes for looked after children”.

This briefing is for anyone interested in children’s social care.

Download the full Briefing on ‘Foster Care in England’

Briefing on TACT's Manifesto - June 2017

On the 8th June 2017, there will be a general election.  The following briefing will look at the main parties’ pledges pertinent to children in care and care leavers.

Each of the main UK-wide political parties have published their manifestos setting out their proposals for government. The purpose of this briefing is to bring together the commitments made that are relevant to children in care or care leavers including early years, schools, further education and children’s services. It focuses primarily on the manifestos of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democratic parties, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru.

Download the full Briefing on TACT’s Manifesto.

You can read TACT’s detailed policy proposals to transform the lives of children in care or leaving care here: TACT’s Manifesto 2017

Briefing on Keep on Caring - July 2016

Keep on Caring outlines the strategic plan proposed by the government to better support care leavers as they transition into adulthood. The document emphasizes the role of government as corporate parents responsible for ensuring positive outcomes for young people. The strategic plan focuses on 5 key outcomes:

  1. All young people leaving care should be better prepared and supported to live independently.
  2. Improved access to education, employment and training.
  3. Care leavers should experience stability in their lives, and feel safe and secure.
  4. Improved access to health support.
  5. Care leavers should achieve financial stability.

Download the full Briefing on Keep on Caring.

Briefing on The Good Childhood Report - July 2016

Recently The Children’s Society (TCS) published their fifth Good Childhood Report, an annual publication that summarises the TCS well-being research programme in partnership with the University of York.

This year’s report presents concepts used to operationalise well-being, describes trends over time, analyses the link between well-being and mental health, and examines the relationship between local area differences and child well-being. The report focuses on measurements of children’s subjective well-being, which refers to children’s evaluations of their experiences and lives as a whole. These subjective measures are contrasted with objective and more traditional socioeconomic indicators of well-being like household income, employment, and education throughout the report.

Download the full Briefing on the Good Childhood Report.

Briefing on the Children and Social Work Bill - May 2016

The Children and Social Work Bill was published and had its first reading on 19 May 2016. The second reading along with a general debate on all aspects of the Bill will take place on 14 June, and while the DfE is reluctant to give a date, they do expect it to receive Royal Assent “quickly”.

The Government has reaffirmed its plans to enable a child to be adopted by a new family in a shorter period of time, improve the standards of social work, and give greater support for children leaving care through a new ‘Care Leavers’ Covenant’.

The new bill consists of 47 clauses and two main parts, the first on Children and the second on Social Workers:

Part 1 Children
Chapter 1 Looked After Children
Chapter 2 Other Provision Relating to Children in England

Part 2 Social Workers
Chapter 1 Social Work Regulations
Chapter 2 Approval of Courses in Relation to Mental Health Social Work

Download the full Briefing on the Children and Social Work Bill.

Briefing on Mental Health and Well-being of Looked-after Children - May 2016

This report was motivated by the 2015 Department of Education and Department of Health joint guidance on Promoting the health and well-being of looked after children. It shows that almost half the children in care have a diagnosable mental health disorder.

Provision for looked after children with mental health concerns has proven to be poor in many areas across England. It is recognised that some local authorities are providing integrated services with a strong focus on multi-agency working and support for key workers such as foster carers and school staff. However, a significant number fail to identify mental health issues when children enter the care system.

The report recognises that all children who need access to CAMHS should get it in a timely manner and that all looked after children should be viewed as a priority for mental health assessments and never refused care based on their placement or severity of their condition.

Co-ordination between health, education and social services at a local level is seen as being at the heart of effective support for looked after children with mental health difficulties. The report calls for the government to address the lack of reliable data about the state of children and young people’s mental health. It also stresses that the voices of children and young people in the care system should be heard.

Download the full Briefing on Mental Health and Well-being of Looked-after Children.

Briefing on Adoption - A Vision for Change - March 2016

On 27 March 2016, Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan MP released a new “blueprint for adoption”. This purpose of this strategy is to transform the life chances of children who spend up to 18 months in care waiting to be adopted. This is part of a four year strategy and the first in a number of announcements that will ‘revolutionise support for the most vulnerable children in our society’.

Adoption: a vision for change outlines the following reforms:

  • All children are to be matched without delay free from the “shackles of council red tape”.
  • A new drive to boost the educational success of adopted children to include a designated teacher and a ‘virtual school head’ who will provide tailored support to help children overcome trauma.
  • £14 million investment for innovation of local schemes that result in more children finding homes. Coram Cambridgeshire who put babies under two with foster parents willing to adopt are cited as an example.
  • The appointment of Andrew Christie as the new Chair of the Adoption Leadership Board.

The strategy contrasts the success of adoption reform of recent years with the decline in adoptions over the last two years. 5,300 children were adopted in 2015 – 72% more than in 2011. Yet over the last two years, the number of decisions for adoptions have almost halved.

Download the full Briefing on Adoption – A Vision for Change.