Children’s charity Kids Company has today launched a major campaign and established an independent task force to address the “crisis” in children’s social care services.
It follows the publication of a damning report by think-tank the Centre for Social Justice, which analysed the cases of 20 children supported by Kids Company. Researchers found “staggering” failures in the care and support provided by their local authorities.
The 400-page report included evidence of illegal practices by local authorities to prevent children from accessing care, and testimonies from social workers who report the system is “completely overwhelmed”.
Blowing the whistle
The campaign, See the Child, Change the System, is supported by organisations, including the British Association of Social Workers and Unison. It aims to force politicians to acknowledge and address the problems faced by children and professionals.
In the run up to the campaign, social workers and other children’s professionals shared their concerns and experiences with Kids Company and its founder and CEO Camila Batmanghelidjh CBE.
The charity stated today: “Over the years it has been convenient to place the blame for the failures on professionals who work with children, or to ignore the problem altogether. But social workers, child mental health workers, head teachers and children’s professionals have now whistle-blown on a broken system.”
How the campaign will work
An independent ‘Children’s Task Force’ has already been formed, with former director of public prosecutions Sir Keir Starmer signed up as chair. It plans to develop a comprehensive child protection and child well-being delivery model and a 15-year plan to restructure children’s social care and mental health services.
According to Kids Company, the board will draw on “extensive clinical, economic and social care expertise from around the world”. Its members will include children’s commissioner Dr Maggie Atkinson, former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, head of psychology at University College London, Professor Peter Fonagy OBE and NSPCC director of strategy Lisa Harker.
The campaign is backed by a host of famous names, from Stephen Fry and Thandie Newton to Russell Brand and Damien Hirst.
Camila Batmanghelidjh called the campaign “a social action initiative driven by permission to admit to the real scale of the problem, and hopeful that resolute action will change the system and make it fit for purpose”.
“Surely vulnerable children deserve to have their courage matched by society’s courage to dream the best reparation for them.”
- Kids Company is calling on professionals and the public to stand up for vulnerable children by signing a petition to vote for change. You can show your support by texting “I SEE” to 63000 (standard network charges apply) or signing the petition online.