Update on the Independent Review at CoramBAAF Members' Day

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At the recent CoramBAAF Members’ Day, we welcomed Josh MacAlister, the Chair of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, as our keynote speaker.

Josh spoke about his motivation for wanting to chair the review, his experiences so far, and about some of the many people he has met during the review – foster carers, care experienced adults, social workers, children in care, kinship carers, academics and health professionals.

Josh outlined the timescales of the review, explained the process they had been following, and set out what the review will be doing during the autumn and winter, following the publication of the Case for Change in July.

Finally, he spoke about the three dilemmas that he has identified during the review process and the challenges these pose in coming up with recommendations for positive change for the care system. The dilemmas he has identified are:

  • the continuum of help and protection: should these be addressed separately by different professionals?
  • local, regional, national: what level is best placed to deliver children’s social care?
  • freedom and responsibility: do we need more or fewer duties, guidance or prescription?

After Josh’s keynote speech, there was plenty of time for a lively and engaged question and answer session. We had questions from our members about:

  • the challenges of recruiting foster carers and the numbers of them who face allegations during their time as foster carers
  • how the review will make sure that the voices of children and young people are not overshadowed by others who have more power
  • the lack of data regarding the ethnicity, culture, religion and language for Looked After Children, and their carers, foster parents and adopters
  • the care review that took place in Scotland and the Promise and implementation plan that came out of that and whether England’s care review would do something similar
  • lack of focus and data around reunification work with children, carers and birth families to improve the outcomes and success rate of reunification
  • how to convince the government to take on board the recommendations of the review

You can see Josh’s presentation and all the debate here. This was a great opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns directly with Josh, and we are really grateful to him for giving his time so generously.

CoramBAAF has been engaging with the review on behalf of our members since it was announced in January. We have responded to the call for Advice and the call for Evidence. Our Black and Minority Ethnic Perspectives Advisory Committee BMEPAC has also responded. We ran an event together with the Fostering Network with foster carers. Our latest contribution was a response to the Case for Change report.

We will continue to engage with the review to make sure that the voices of our members are heard loud and clear. If you have any questions or would like to contribute to our ongoing engagement with the review, please do get in touch with us at

Thanks again to all our members for making this such an interesting session!


Ellen Broomé, Managing Director, CoramBAAF