Children’s Minister Edward Timpson has made a smart decision to appoint Lorraine Pascale as the government’s first ‘fostering ambassador’. A former foster child herself she represents a ‘consumer’ rather than a ‘producer’ perspective, something that is still rare in the children’s services world.
However, the government has to do more than simply give token acknowledgement to the voices of those who have direct personal experience of the care system. It needs to take very seriously what children and young people who are in care say. And it needs to create the resources to act on their needs, wishes and concerns by ensuring that a credible programme of continuous improvement is in place.
I would like to see the establishment of a rolling panel of children and young people who are, or who have recently been, in care to advise ministers, civil servants and local officials on what is right and what is wrong with fostering and related services and to put forward ideas about how they can be improved.