Dost has been following the current See the Child campaign, which was recently launched by Kids Company in response to a recent Centre for Social Justice report that revealed a failing system in desperate need of review.
The report reveals a growing group of children who are “struggling to receive the necessary care and support of statutory services” and “highlights concerns about the effectiveness of some social work services.” This comes as no surprise to Dost.
One of the many issues that our children and young people face includes the gaps in service received by social services. These gaps have only widened with the loss of specialist asylum support teams in recent years. As a result of budget cuts, many local authorities merged their asylum teams with looked after children and leaving care teams thus creating a shift in client focus and staff expertise. It has been our experience that asylum and immigration issues can fall under the radar especially when social workers are managing a number of volatile cases that require urgent and immediate attention. Unfortunately, this scenario has proven to be detrimental to some of the young people we work with. Recently, we worked to urgently source a solicitor for a child who had was quickly approaching 18 years of age. Although being looked after for over three years, his previous social workers overlooked the basic requirements of submitting an asylum/immigration application for a minor, so his right to remain in the UK had been potentially jeopardized.
Additionally, failing the provision of a specialist team within a local authority, teams as a whole require training specific to the client groups they support. We understand that this is a systemic failing rather than an individual one. Again, when one is managing an unstable caseload, making time for training can present as impossibility which only further highlights the need for change.
The See the child campaign has been launched to enable the creation of an Independent Task Force that can re-design social care and mental health services for children, bringing together people from a range of backgrounds to bring about change for vulnerable children.
Dost wholeheartedly backs this campaign and looks forward to seeing the changes that this new, inclusive approach to restructuring children’s social services can bring to the lives of vulnerable young people from all backgrounds.
If you would like to lend your voice to the campaign, all you need to do is sign the petition, which you can do online or by text (Text I SEE to 63000).
Some of the Dost team as children in support of See the Child:
By Lizette Villaverde, Specialist Care Leaver Caseworker