Executive needed to drive forward reform of children’s social care services, say Alliance representatives

Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA and Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA have welcomed the publication of the report of the review of children’s social care services and said an Executive is needed to take forward its 53 recommendations. 

Paula Bradshaw Naomi Long Social care

The report, which was launched today, found more than 4,000 young people are waiting for an assessment from children’s social care service and a record number of children are in care.  

“I welcome this report from the review panel, which is clear urgent action is required for those children and families who rely on social care services,” said Ms Long, the former Justice Minister. 

“However, we risk the report becoming another review sitting on a dusty shelf without an Executive to implement the changes or recommendations. Further delay in restoring the institutions will mean more children in Northern Ireland suffering worse outcomes as the system is overwhelmed. We need to take preventative measures and bring down referrals to be more in line with other jurisdictions on these islands.

“The longer we go without an Executive, the further Northern Ireland falls behind and the more we let down these young people.” 

Ms Bradshaw added, “Families and young people need and deserve better social services. We must ensure our health and social care services support people throughout their lives, and all children and young people are given the best start in life. 

“This report spells out improved ways of cross-departmental working, which can ensure children and young people here have the very best support and care. We know early intervention is key to many aspects of health services and children in care are often at higher risk of trauma and mental health issues. Yet, here we have another example of long waiting lists for public services. 

“I congratulate Professor Ray Jones and his panel on such a comprehensive report, and hope political leadership will not be lacking in the implementation of its recommendations. We cannot continue to shirk our responsibilities to children and young people.”