Children’s participation in LAC reviews: a study in one English local authority

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Authors: Hayley Pert, Clive Diaz, Nigel Thomas

Year: 2014

Summary:

Although the law in England and Wales requires a child’s wishes and feelings to be heard in LAC (Looked After Children) reviews, there remains limited research into how far this is achieved. This study interviewed 25 children and 16 foster carers to explore how well children understand and take part in reviews, and what factors impede this. The study found that levels of participation, as experienced by children and foster carers, were very low and the methods used were relatively ineffective. Children experienced significant barriers in engaging with the review process. The paper concludes that, as a vehicle of children’s participation, LAC reviews are still not working well and calls for more attention to the views of children and young people and to the effectiveness of LAC reviews.

‘Just another person in the room’: young people’s views on their participation in Child in Care Reviews

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Authors: Clive Diaz, Hayley Pert, Nigel Thomas

Year: 2018

Summary:

This article discusses a key meeting for children in care – the Child in Care Review – and examines the extent to which children and young people are able to participate and exert a level of control over their lives. The research, conducted in England, formed part of a wider exploration of the views and experiences of all those involved in such reviews, namely Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs), social workers, senior managers and – the focus of this article – the young people concerned. Most of the children interviewed said that they found their reviews frustrating and stressful, often attributing this to poor relationships with social workers and scepticism about the value of the review process. However, they recognised the workload pressures facing social workers and the bureaucratic constraints affecting the service they received. The article argues for the continuing importance of the IRO role, given the consistency it provides for children in care. It also shows that while it provides an opportunity for children’s participation in discussions about their future, the Child in Care Review is underperforming. The developing practice of children chairing their own reviews offers one way forward and the article calls for this to be developed and for other creative methods to be introduced to enable young people to play a meaningful part in meetings that affect them.