The Association of Directors of Social Services has welcomed the Child Care Bill as setting a clear lead for services.
ADSS members said the Bill published last week gave “a clear lead and positive expectations for local authorities in establishing a comprehensive service for children and families”.
Co-chair of the children and families committee Andrew Webb said: “If the services envisaged are delivered, it will enhance outcomes for some of the most vulnerable children: it is undeniably a positive and constructive measure.”
But Webb warned that the bill was about child care rather than children.
“It will have no impact on many of the families with whom social care has traditionally worked, since they will still not be in a position to get on to the bottom rung of the employment ladder in the first place,” he warned.
He also raised concerns including:
• Whether meeting the needs of disabled children to age 16 had been sufficiently costed.
• How increasing the provision of services to vulnerable children would be funded.
Webb also suggested that while he approved of giving service providers clear guidance on what works to stimulate children and support their development, this should not be accompanied by a “strict assessment or inspection regime or it will cease to function as a positive development”.
He added that the proposals within the bill should be tied in to the children’s workforce agenda being developed in the Department for Education and Skills.