Coram Voice was delighted to hear that the Department for Education has withdrawn its inaccurate ‘myth busting’ guide. The withdrawal of the guide comes after our colleagues at children’s rights charity Article 39 launched an application for judicial review. The Department for Education has also committed to consult with relevant organisation and young people before publishing similar guides in the future. The Department has also advised local authorities that it has withdrawn the guide and the guidance it contained.
This legal action followed from the government’s refusal to withdraw or amend the guide after 50 organisations, including Coram Voice, highlighted the issues with the guide in September 2018 in a letter to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, Minister Nadhim Zahawi in September 2018.
The ‘myth busting’ guide undermined key protections given to vulnerable children and young people including suggesting that local authorities did not have to offer a return home interview to children who had run away; did not have to appoint separate social workers to foster carers and children in long term placements, and could reduce the number of visits social workers needed to make to children in foster care.
Whilst we welcome the government’s decision to withdraw the guide it is disappointing that this only came after legal action was initiated and after over 6 months period which saw important protections for vulnerable children and young people being undermined by the guide. However we hope that the commitment from the Department for Education to follow a proper consultation process in the future will make sure that future guidance will be accurate and promote improved support to young people in care.
Previous news story from Coram Voice on this issue – Coram Voice renews call for the immediate withdrawal of the Department for Education’s ‘myth busting’ guide