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Wed, 06 Jul 22 11:59

ADCS response: The Fostering Network report

Commenting on the State of the Nation’s Foster Care 2021 report Edwina Grant, Chair of the ADCS Health, Care and Additional Needs Policy Committee, said:

“Foster carers provide invaluable care and support to children who cannot live within their families. They should absolutely be recognised and valued as a key member of the ‘team around the child’ and should, wherever possible, be able to make day to day decisions about the child they are looking after.

“As the number of children in our care increases so too does our need for more foster carers. It’s crucial that any increase in capacity reflects the profile of children currently in our care, as the report notes there is a particular need for carers who are willing to care for teenagers, large sibling groups and children with complex needs as well as a need for parent and child placements. I would encourage anyone who believes they can offer a loving home and have the right skills to foster to get in touch. We need to retain foster carers too; ensuring foster carers receive high quality training and feel well supported so that they can continue to offer the loving families that children need is a crucial part of this. Local authorities are committed to doing this in the best way we can but the impact of years of austerity and rising need on our services cannot be underestimated. Most local authorities are investing in local and regional recruitment campaigns to encourage more people with the right skills to foster to come forward, however, we need more support from government to do this. The benefits are clear: greater placement choice would in turn lead to greater placement stability for children, closer to home. ADCS members are not convinced of the benefits of a national register of foster carers as a means to address the capacity issues in the system or to match children, for example. Where possible children should be placed locally enabling them to maintain the relationships that are important to them, including contact with birth parents and wider family members.

“For some children fostering will be a short term solution to a specific problem, other children will be in foster care for much longer. However, long term fostering hasn’t received the same policy attention or investment as adoption has in recent years, despite these children generally having the same needs. ADCS is fully engaged with the national review into children’s social care and the CMA’s inquiry into children’s social care provision which should help to further highlight and address these issues. This includes the significant profits being made by a small number of organisations from fostering. Such practices result in money being lost from the system which could otherwise be re-invested into improving the outcomes for vulnerable children.”


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