Every Child Matters (ECM) is an initiative from the Government which was first published in 2003. The document was initially a response to the case of Victoria Climbié who tragically died after suffering horrific injuries at the hands of the people who were her guardians. The enquiry into her death was led by Lord Lamming who presented a comprehensive report to the Government, which then influence policy making and legislation.
The biggest change resulting from Every Child Matters was the 5 Outcomes, which are now an important part of the Inspection Framework by Ofsted on Fostering Agencies such as UK Fostering. The 5 Outcomes are described as follows:
Being Healthy: This includes ensuring every child receives the appropriate medical care, as well as encouraging a healthy lifestyle, receiving a balanced diet, being involved in activities and sports, drug and alcohol awareness and sexual health issues.
Staying Safe: This includes the organisations (UK Fostering) responsibility to carry out appropriate checks on foster carers and staff, and links in with relevant child protection legislation. It also concerns children’s ability to assess and manage risk, being free from harm and abuse or exposure to violence and crime.
Enjoying and achieving: Education is critically important in the success of any foster placement and is a key element of the care arrangement for every child, regardless of their capacity or ability. Further elements of this outcome include school attendance, extracurricular activities, and very importantly having fun.
Making a positive contribution: Under this Every Child Matters outcome, it is important to be part of society, to be involved in social groups, to have acquaintances and friends, receiving and giving back, having a sense of belonging and understand (age appropriate) the society we live in.
Achieving economic well-being: For children in care this often includes engaging in further education e.g. college, apprenticeships and University. It is important that children in care learn principal of effort (work) and reward (certificate, salary diploma, degree etc). Foster carers are encouraged to have high expectations of every child they look after.
As a result of these Every Child Matters outcomes we believe the fostering sector is better placed to serve the needs of the child or young person in foster care.