Today, on World Children’s Day, Researching Reform is launching the Best Interests of the Child Review (BIC) – a complete review into children’s social care in England and Wales.

It is also launching “Children and their Families have Rights” – the first booklet to set out every legal right children and their families have when they go through child welfare and child protection processes in Britain.

BIC is parent-led and places children’s and families’ views at the front of its work. Our review has four main goals:

  • Identify problems affecting children and families inside the social care sector;
  • Offer immediate help and support to children and families impacted by these problems;
  • Highlight the cultural, legal and social work practices creating or contributing to the problems, and share pioneering solutions to those problems and;
  • Produce real-world, workable solutions to address problems, at little or no extra cost to the tax payer.

The review’s lead is Michele Simmons, a care experienced mother who lost her son to adoption but was later reunited. She now works as a groundbreaking researcher looking into irregular adoptions, and pioneered Section 20 consent forms for parents and children. As part of her work, Michele supports and helps other families who have been through, or are going through, public family law proceedings. 

BIC also welcomes Simon Haworth, a lecturer within the Department of Social Work and Social Care at the University of Birmingham. Simon is a core member of the Parents, Families and Allies Network (PFAN), a parent-led organisation which aims to change children’s social work from being child protection and rescue focused to child rights focused in order to strengthen the family and the community.

The review’s website has a testimonials page which features comments from children and families who have experienced the system, and we will keep accepting testimonials from families throughout the review.

The review is not funded by any organisation, body or government department. Every team member for the review is working without financial compensation.

BIC will be holding an “Ask Us Anything” online conference, where attendees can ask us questions about the review. The conference will take place on Wednesday 1 December, 2021 from 5pm to 6pm.

Email the review team at to receive information about how to access the event. Please confirm you would like to attend the event in your message, and let us know if you are a care-experienced child or parent, social care stakeholder, government affiliate, academic, journalist or member of the public.