The Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers welcomes the Children and Social Work Act 2017 which passed into law on the 27 April 2017. Members of the Alliance 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. We were especially pleased that the Government recognised the importance of local authorities regularly reaching out to care leavers to offer support, not just putting the onus on young people to request assistance.
We hope that any new Government honours commitment made during the passage of the Children and Social Work Bill through parliament to pilot mental health assessments for children in care. These are essential to ensure that young people get the support they need to address trauma and other mental health needs.
The Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers look forward to continuing to support the Government to implement the provision in the Act, including new Guidance and regulations.