Young people and professionals pessimistic over Care Matters green paper for children in care, consultation says

Young people and professionals fear the government’s children in care green paper, Care Matters, will not be properly resourced and that positive messages will not be translated into policies, according to a report published by the Department for Education and Skills yesterday.

Education secretary Alan Johnson has confirmed that a white paper taking forward the government’s plans for children in care will be published later this year.

An analysis of responses to the green paper consultation found that although it was generally welcomed, some believe the government must prioritise the policies that will make a real impact rather than progressing all 122 of the paper’s proposals.

Johnson said the white paper would mean an “overhaul” of the care system using the “radical ideas” emerging from the consultation.

But the consultation showed there were mixed views on whether the government should try to reduce the number of young people in care, with some saying it would lead to children not going into care when it was in their best interests.

The idea of GP-style social care practices also received “a very mixed reaction” the Dfes report said.

Most respondents welcomed the proposed tiered system of care placements, where those with the most need could be matched with the most highly skilled carers. But some suggested the framework could undermine stability as children could be moved to lower tier placements as their needs diminished.

Johnson said yesterday: “As proxy parents we have a special responsibility towards children in care and so I am delighted that so many young people have taken the time to tell us what they think needs to be done. Now we need to act.”

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