Yesterday, the Guardian reported that, according to the National Audit Office (NAO) there has been a 14% increase in the number of children in care (Baby P effect takes children in care numbers to 25-year high, says NAO). More clearly needs to be done to tackle the challenges around children in care, which leads to a range of poorer outcomes for those children, not least far lower educational attainment.
However, the picture does not need to be bleak. Across the UK there are examples of local authorities, charities and social investors coming together to develop innovative solutions that focus on outcomes, including:
- reducing the number of children being taken into care in Essex
- improving outcomes for children in care in Manchester
- placing harder to adopt children into stable and supportive families, launched by the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies
These Social Impact Bonds provide the structure to do things differently: improving the lives of vulnerable children and reducing the burden on the tax payer in the long-term. We hope that today’s NAO report will be a further reminder of the need to make greater use of these schemes and provide a better future for children in care.
A good place to start might be Social Investment and Public Services, a conference run by Social Finance, the Local Government Association and the Big Lottery Fund on 20 January 2015
Watch this short video on the Essex SIB, delivered by Action for Children: