I am very proud of A National Voice's campaign's in particular the campaign to stop Children in Care being moved with their belongings in Bin Bags, 'This is not a suitcase'. Perhaps our biggest achievement to date had been setting up the LILAC project, whereby we facilitate Looked After Children and care leavers to assess local authorities and fostering agencies.
There are still many challenges facing the care system. Currently the educational achievements are still poor, the prison rate and the unemployment rates of care leavers are unacceptably high. With the Social Work reform programme and the newly founded College of Social Work we hope that the time for change is upon us.
The key to positive experiences for children in care today are good social workers and good foster carers. There currently is a big problem with retaining good quality foster carers. We hear from children that their foster carers are the most important part of their care. There is a well documented lack of foster carers, but this news comes as a double edged sword. Not only do we not have enough foster carers to meet the needs of children in this country but we also see that many 'poor' foster carers are being allowed to look after children simply because they "have a bed". This may be seen as suitable at the moment but we would like to see only the highest standard of foster carers providing care for this countries neediest children.
Second to foster carers we know that good social workers are vital to children in care. They provide help, emotional support and ensure that children in care are able to access everything they are entitled to. What we are seeing is that the Social Work profession has been in crisis for some time. We see that social workers are being over worked, being driven to illnesses such as stress and depression due to work, not being given good quality supervision, and are spending the vast majority of their time sat behind a computer screen instead of being with the children they are supposed to be looking after.
A National Voice is committed to continuing its work to strive for positive changes to the care system. Please browse the website and feel free to contact us if you would like to contribute or comment on the work we do. Our twitter is @ANationalVoice and our Facebook page is simply A National Voice