A new Californian inspired policy framework for looked after children in Wales will be discussed at an Assembly event this week. ‘Continuing to care: learning from the Californian experience’ will see AMs and the public come together to discuss how Wales can learn from the US to improve outcomes for children.
The event, which is being held at the National Assembly on Tuesday evening, will give Welsh leaders the opportunity to hear about radical reforms in California to deliver improvements for children in Care, and to deliver an ACE informed approach. The event has been set up as a result of a successful international fellowship undertaken by Dr Emily Warren, who was a member of the Ministerial Advisory Group on Children. Emily travelled to California in 2017, and spent four months working with the Director of the Californian state Government on their landmark ‘Continuum of Care’ reforms.
Dr Emily Warren, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to work in California and be a part of their exciting reforms. In Wales, I know that improving the outcomes for looked after children is a shared cross party priority, and I am confident that we can learn a lot from the Californian approach. It is exciting to be able to host colleagues from California and to provide an international learning opportunity for Wales and the Assembly.
Mark Stone, Assembly Member for Scott Valley, said: “California is at a critical stage with recently enacted reforms of its foster care system. While I am proud of the work we have done so far, there remains much to do to ensure that all children at risk are cared for. I am looking forward to sharing our State's journey, and its opportunities and challenges, as well as learning about the great work being done for Welsh children at risk”.
David Melding AM, who is hosting the event, added: “This is a momentous occasion in our strides to improving the lives of looked after children in Wales. This event provides Welsh policy makers with an opportunity to hear first-hand about the benefits and advancements in the Californian system, and to likewise reciprocate the different aspects of best practice in our system. I hope this is the beginning of a long and productive working relationship between Wales and California, and I look forward to developing that relationship in the coming years.
Alyson Francis, Director of the ACE Support Hub Wales said: “ACEs are everyone’s business and it’s fantastic to see Welsh leaders gather to hear about the reforms happening in California. Wales has big ambitions to become a world leader in tackling, mitigating and preventing ACEs, and this learning event gives us the opportunity to discuss our collective action.”
Notes to Editors:
- Dr Emily Warren was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship in January 2017, she took up a position working alongside the Californian state director for social care, advising on the implementation of policy reforms for children. Her report ‘Continuing to Care’ was published and shared with the Ministerial Advisory Group on Children, and upon her return was appointed as advisor to David Melding AM, Chair of the Group.
- The continuum of Care reforms are the largest reforms for child welfare in California’s History, they have made group homes illegal, and have led to revolutionising the provision of foster care, with a commitment to reducing ACE’s across the state. Mark Stone AM is the sponsor of the legislation.
- David Melding AM, is the Chair of Wales’ first Ministerial Advisory group on Children, bringing together sector leaders to discuss and develop policy advice for the Minister to ensure there is a sustained focus on improving outcomes for Children in Wales.
- Alyson Francis is the Director of Wales’ ACE Support Hub which has been set up to help make Wales a leader in tackling, mitigating and preventing ACEs. We share ideas and learning, develop skills and knowledge and challenge and change ways of working so together, we break the cycle of ACEs.