Since 1997 the Government has championed a raft of primary and secondary legislation designed to ensure that the care system better safeguards and promotes the welfare of the country's most vulnerable children and young people. An examination of that legislative programme in isolation suggests that the Government understands well the value of the care system to those it is designed to protect, as well as the value of that system to society as a whole. However, when looked at in the broader context of the parlous state of human, structural and financial resourcing within the care system, the Government's understanding of its worth begins to look increasingly superficial. This caustic dichotomy between high political vision and inadequate resourcing has effectively limited the value the Government attaches to the care system to words rather than deeds. That singular failure to value the care system as one of society's fundamental institutions undermines not only the welfare of vulnerable children and young people, but the welfare and fairness of society as a whole.