Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Children's social care review cites ICLS research

23 May 2022

ICLS research cited in independent review of children's social care which leads to Government commitment to major reform

Child and adult holding hands

Three important pieces of research undertaken as part of an ICLS project looking at the health outcomes of children in care have been cited in a review proposing a fundamental shift in children's social care.

The research led by Professor Amanda Sacker with colleagues Emily Murray, Rebecca Lacey and Barbara Maughan and funded by the Nuffield Foundation is cited in Josh MacAlister's Final Report published today (May 23 2022). 

The report calls for more help for families in crisis, decisive action in response to abuse, and a commitment for those in care to benefit from lifelong loving relationships. Josh MacAlister said: "How we care for our children is a reflection of our values as a country. When we get it right, children’s social care allows children and families to flourish - it can be a reflection of England at its best."

Children’s Commissioner for England Dame Rachel de Souza welcomed today's report:

"The publication of Josh MacAlister’s Review of Children’s Social Care is an important opportunity for all of us working with, and for, children. We must grasp this unique moment to deliver ambitious reform, designed around children and families. A system that delivers so we can properly shift the dial on their experiences and outcomes.

Whilst the publication of reviews is only ever the first stage in a process, and the ideas held in them only as good as their implementation, we must not underestimate the need to act – so many children’s lives and futures are at stake. Too many tell me they feel let down by the services designed to protect and support them, so let’s seize this chance to do better. We need everywhere to be as good as the best and we must have no tolerance for anything less than excellent.

I look forward to doing whatever I can to make this much needed reform a reality. We owe it to England’s children."

In response to the report the Government issued a press release saying it was committd to "major reforms to improve the lives of England’s most vulnerable children and families". It added that families most at risk would be supported to stay safely together, with a focus on early help, preventing them from reaching crisis point.

In a recent blog for ICLS' Child of our Time, Amanda Sacker called for all policies to consider the needs of care leavers after her and her team's research showed disturbing disparities in mid  and later life health and other outcomes for those who had been in care as children, finds with some groups faring much worse than others.

Amanda commented:

"Knowing that our research findings have contributed to Josh MacAlister's recommendations for improving children's social care has made our challenging project really worth-while."