Independent review of children’s social care services to be carried out in Northern Ireland

Independent review of children’s social care services to be carried out in Northern Ireland

Health Minister Robin Swann

Health Minister Robin Swann has actually revealed a review of childrens social care services in Northern Ireland will begin in February 2022.

Teacher Ray Jones will be the independent lead customer assisted by an advisory panel. Members of the Advisory Panel are Her Honour Judge Patricia Smyth, Professor Pat Dolan, and Marie Roulston, OBE (previous Director of Childrens services), together with young people and parents/carers with individual experience of childrens social care services.

The review will take a look at how present services are led and handled, and how they can be improved. It will likewise check out whether the existing system is sufficiently supporting social care staff in the workout of their caring tasks, and if the system is capable of managing future pressures.

It comes as the pandemic has exposed a “level of fragility” within kids social care service in Northern Ireland for the most young individuals and susceptible children.

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The evaluation is expected to take 16 months to finish, beginning in February 2022. It will engage throughout with parents; children and young people and with those working within and along with childrens social care services.

The youths, moms and dads and carers are being individually recruited and supported by the Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC) and Children in Northern Ireland (CiNI).

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” In addition, we need to guarantee the staff offering front-line services are adequately supported and developed to deliver the best possible results for kids, young individuals, families and moms and dads who need their help and support.”

At 31 March 2021, 3,530 kids and youths were in care in Northern Ireland. This is the greatest number of kids in care considering that the introduction of the Children Order in 1995, and there has actually been a sharp increase because the start of the pandemic. The Children Order was designed to support and safeguard kids to the greatest extent possible.

Robin continued: “The evaluation will take a look at how we support households to keep their children safe and well-cared for and enable them to remain together, and where this is not possible the arrangement of alternative care. It will likewise take a look at how the existing services are structured, handled and led and evaluate if we can do more.

The most recent childrens social care data for Northern Ireland, published in November 2021 for 2020/21, reveal that there are 23,095 kids in need of social care.

” An extensive assessment of services will be carried out and seriously, kids and youths, moms and dads and front-line practitioners will be directly engaged and central to the Review. I welcome the consultation of such a respected panel to bring out the review and want them well in taking it forward.”

The minister concluded: “This is a real chance for us to identify improvements which will benefit a few of the most vulnerable kids, youths and families along with the personnel who tirelessly serve them on a daily basis.

The evaluation will look at the support services for families, the care of children far from their families, and how the services are currently structured as well as looking at the assistance for staff.

Explaining why the evaluation is being undertaken, Robin stated: “It has actually been more than a decade since there has actually been a fundamental evaluation of kidss social care services in Northern Ireland. The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the value of such services and exposed a level of fragility within the system for the most vulnerable kids and young individuals.”