The Welsh Government has introduced a bill to remove private profit from the care of looked-after children.

The mandate forms part of a radical reformation of children’s care in Wales as the Health and Social Care (Wales) Bill was laid before the Senedd on May 20.

This bill aims to give people greater say and control over their health care by enabling direct payments for continuing healthcare.

The drive to remove private profit from the care of looked-after children forms part of the Government's Programme for Government.

Minister for social care Dawn Bowden threw her weight behind the bill after engaging with care-experienced young people at an event organised by charity Voices from Care Cymru.

She said: "The Welsh Government is committed to an ambitious reform of children’s care services so they work better for children and their families."

She added, emphasising the importance of public funds: "We do not believe that private profit should be made from caring for children and young people whose circumstances require them to be in the care of a local authority.

"This Bill will eliminate private profit from the care of looked-after children and ensure public money is used to deliver improved services which meet children’s needs and deliver better experiences and outcomes."

In addition to banning private profit from children's care, the bill also intends to enable direct payments for continuing healthcare.

This will allow disabled individuals and those with long-term health requirements to have more input on how their care is provided.

Voices from Care Cymru trustee Brendan Roberts supported the bill, stating that care-experienced children and young people have been clear in their stand against companies profiting from their need for care and support.

He said: "We think that public money that is being spent by our corporate parents to provide for our care should all be spent on that."

His statement alluded to a December 2022 pact between Welsh Ministers and care-experienced young ambassadors promising to remove profit from care.

Rhian Davies, chief executive of Disability Wales, also backed the bill for giving more choice and control to those with long-term health conditions.

She said: "Voice, choice, and control are vital to ensuring the rights of disabled people including people with long term health conditions."

These changes represent a significant part of the Welsh Government’s wider reform programme for children’s social care.

The objectives of the initiative include reducing the number of children taken into care, providing better support for families to keep them united where possible, ensuring children in care are accommodated as close to home as possible, and supporting young people leaving care to prepare for the future and lead independent lives.

Departmental data highlighted an increase in the number of looked-after children in Wales.

As of March 31, 2023, there were 7,210 looked-after children, representing a rate of 116.3 per 10,000 population aged under 18.

This contrasts with 2013's figure of 5,760 children, or a rate of 91 per 10,000.

These rising trends signal the growing use of care, which can have detrimental impacts on children and young people.