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Five Rivers Child Care responds to Children’s Commissioners 2019 Stability Index

The findings of Anne Longfield’s report published today are alarming. The rising demand in the teenage population, the increasing complexity and specialist support these children need is something we recognise here.

At Five Rivers Child Care, we have invested 30 years in providing services for looked after children and we see and recognise the challenge Anne reports on today.

What we aim to provide is the very thing many of these children have missed out on and are bearing the consequences of – stability and security. We can do this by having residential care homes and specialist schools that work together and highly skilled therapists who support both the children in our care and our staff. This integrated set up helps to manage the complexity from all perspectives important in a child’s world and reduce the chance of children ‘pinballing’ around the system, which only goes onto re-traumatise and add to the complexity.

Our long standing fostering services are also a crucial piece of the puzzle, as we we are able to manage planned and thoughtful step down to fostering placements when the time is right. In this set up, our highly trained foster carers have time to prepare for the arrival of a child, ensuring placements will stabalise and not break down.

We also recognise the issues surrounding sustainability and the stark financial pressure local authority colleagues are under to fund these services. This is partly why we are proactively moving to a model which prioritises the care of younger children (7-14), who we know we can have the most meaningful and long-lasting impact on. First and foremost, this is in the best interests of the children but it has a wider impact on the social care system at large who will see the benefits of earlier intervention and prevention in all contexts.

We don’t suppose to have all the answers and Anne’s report is a call to action for us all to play our part in making a system that works for the children who need it most. Making a system that we’re proud of and is meeting the needs of these children to give them the best possible life chances.

Our integrated provision has helped thousands of children over the last 30 years. This experience and insight shows time and time again the need for early intervention and the challenge of supporting children with more complex case histories.

We are committed to turning these children’s lives around and never giving up.

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