Editorial: Sign Up!

Let us start with the obvious. Many of the children and young people in our children’s homes and residential schools have suffered serious problems in the past and they present difficulties while in residential care. The work is highly demanding for both staff and managers, and they need good training and support systems if they are to deliver a high quality of service and meet the needs of the children and young people whom they serve.It was this thinking which led to a movement to put pressure on the last Government to set up a dedicated organisation in England comparable to the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care. to advise and support residential child care services. The outcome – after some years of lobbying by the sector – was the National Centre for Excellence in Residential Child Care. This proved its worth and created a valuable network, offering support, advice, training, publications and seminars.

Unhappily an unfortunate set of circumstances led to its demise last year, and its loss was greatly regretted. Now, of course, is not an auspicious time to set up a new quango, but that is what the Institute of Childcare and Social Education, backed by the Social Care Association, is seeking. It wants to see NCERCC – or a body with a similar remit – re-established. The Department for Education has a small unit supporting residential child care services, working to the Government’s agenda, and it has done useful work, but the ICSE is seeking to replicate the model of NCERCC – led by the residential child care sector and reflecting its professional expertise and concerns.

An e-petition has been on the No. 10 website for about a week at the time of writing, and it has already attracted support. To have an impact, though, it needs large numbers of signatories. It is open for any concerned person to sign, and Jonathan Stanley, who used to work for NCERCC, has pointed out that there are 25,000 residential child care workers who could offer their support.

We call on all those concerned about standards of residential child care to sign up and to pester their friends and colleagues to do so as well, till the support for the petition goes viral. It is easy to do. Google ‘petitions’, and the website ‘HM Government e-petitions’ appears. Click on that, insert ‘NCERCC’ in the box, and you will be taken to the page to sign. The petition is already in the top ten per cent on the e-petitions list, but it would be good to have a thousand names for the ICSE to send a message to the Government.

Click here for fuller information contained in the article Petition to Re-establish NCERCC in this issue.

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