Can the State be a Good Parent? Making the Difference for Looked After Children and Care Leavers
Rainer & National Leaving Care Advisory Service
Free to download or order from www.nlcas.org
STAR RATING: 3/5
A cluster of reports and government consultations are focusing yet again on whether public services to children in care can be transformed, writes Anthony Douglas. So this is a timely book.
If ever there was a time for fundamental review, it is now. So much has been tried, and so much has been invested, but the care system still has intractable problems like poor educational outcomes. Equally we are second to none in the world in some services, such as the increasing numbers of children in foster care. There are good stories and horror stories to tell, in the same breath.
Many contributions in this book are absorbing, and worth absorbing. The importance of relationships with children and young people in care, without which development is impossible, and the need to empower parents more, given how many children in care drift back home eventually. Sections on what young people say are riveting, as they challenge professional orthodoxy.
The work of the What Makes the Difference project is worth watching out for. This book asks the big questions about the care system, and is suitably cautious about the answers.
Anthony Douglas is chief executive of Cafcass and chair of BAAF