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Family Care Recognised in Parliamentary Review

April 1, 2020 | matt

The Parliamentary Review is a series of British publications which aims to share best practice amongst policymakers and business leaders.

Family Care

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Family Care has been recognised in the 2020 Parliamentary Review.

By placing policy discussion into the hands of large and small organisations across the country, The Parliamentary Review moves away from the “Westminster bubble” to get to the heart of the issues that matter most to businesses.  Jointly chaired by Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, the Review's non-partisan approach facilitates policy development driven by those who are most affected by it.

Family Care featured in the review to promote residential ‘block booking’ contracts which, to date, have saved more than £200,000 of council budget.  We are encouraging local authority commissioning teams to consider residential care as a first choice for some young people, whilst also highlighting the importance of adopting therapeutic approaches and practices.

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The typical cost of a foster placement for a child in the UK is around £800 a week compared to £3,000 a week in a children’s home.  This puts pressure on cash-strapped local authorities to prioritise foster placements for children coming into care, and to encourage speedy transitions for children already living in a residential setting.

Many councils will not consider residential children’s homes unless fostering has been tried first.  This can lead to a cycle of placement breakdowns that is profoundly costly for the child, and costly on the public purse.

Almost a third of children living in children’s homes have had six or more previous placements.  By accepting residential care as a first option for some young people, we believe local authorities can simultaneously improve care, save money and most importantly enhance the life chances of looked-after children.  Group Operations Director, Andrew O’Reilly, commented:

“Many local authorities feel they must look to fostering first before considering residential care, but we believe a long-term view should be adopted.  We are encouraging a braver commissioning process that looks beyond immediate cost savings of comparative placements.”

By securing ‘block booking’ arrangements with local authorities, we have shown the benefits of an approach recommended in Sir Martin Narey’s 2016 report of residential care in England.

Placement stability for the young person and financial predictability for the provider translate into lower weekly fees for the local authority. Critics point out that local authorities may not always fill the beds they are paying for, to which Sir Martin Narey comments in his 2016 report;

Some local authorities will be concerned that block or cost and volume contracts will not deliver the savings that I anticipate because too often they might not be able to fill the beds they have commissioned. That may, occasionally, be the case, but not if regional consortia are large enough. And the potential for savings is so significant as to justify the occasional empty bed.

We strongly believe that if this model was adopted and rolled out on a larger scale, savings could reach the millions.

With these savings, councils and providers could invest further into therapeutic models best equipped to meet the needs of young people.

Throughout all Family Care services we have adopted the Secure Base model, which provides a theoretical framework for the development of secure attachment in children.  This approach, coupled with various therapeutic assessment tools, helps ensure our young people are getting the support they need.

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One such assessment tool is the BERRI questionnaire which we use to identify children’s needs and track how they change over time.  BERRI is the only online assessment tool to cover mental health, behaviour, emotional wellbeing, relationships, risk and attachment.

With this information, better-informed decisions can be made around the support a child needs, leading to improved outcomes for the young person.  If providers are serious about prioritising children’s outcomes, they must be willing to invest in resources like Secure Base and BERRI.

 “Supporting children who have suffered trauma or adverse childhood experiences requires more than just ‘good enough’ parenting.  Providers offering residential, fostering or education services to vulnerable children must consider therapeutic approaches and interventions, as we have, if they are to prioritise children’s outcomes”. Andrew O’Reilly, Family Care Group

The full Parliamentary Review article can be viewed here:

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For more information about our residential services including details about individual homes, you can visit our residential pages.

To make a referral call 01772 647500 or email


Healing Pasts | Building Futures
Since 1988

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