ADCS responds to ‘Fostering Better Outcomes’

Commenting on the government’s response to the fostering stocktake, Rachel Dickinson, Vice President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said:

“We welcome the government’s response to the independent fostering stocktake and the findings of the Education Select Committee’s earlier inquiry on this subject, which rightly highlights fostering as a success story. The stability and love these carers offer in opening their homes, and lives, to children in care can be transformative, with the effects lasting a lifetime. Local authorities are ambitious about improving outcomes for the children in our care and we cannot do this without supporting their carers.

“Foster carers have a unique relationship with the children in their care and they should feel valued and listened to as a key part of the team around the child, but we do not believe that they should be regarded as another member of staff or an employee and the government agrees. Indeed, children themselves told reviewers that the last thing they need in their lives is another professional. The importance of placement and social worker stability is raised a number of times but the plans outlined here will not address the underlying drivers of instability including a national shortage of foster carers and of social workers. ADCS members also remain concerned about the significant surpluses being made by a small number of organisations from fostering. Such practices cannot be justified, and we reiterate our earlier call on government to replicate the Scottish legislation which prevents for-profit operations in this area.

“The five ambitions outlined in the response are difficult to argue with as is the focus on advocacy, on the smarter use of contact and the use of fostering as a respite option for children and families at times of crisis. We await further information about the role, remit and membership of the new national stability forum for children’s social care and its interface with the adoption and residential care leadership boards as well as the network of fostering trailblazers who will test new ways of working.”

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