Find out the new government plan to bring foster families closer together.
The government has announced new advice to improve foster care. They say it will help the many children who are in foster care experience loving and stable homes.
How many children are in foster care?
The statistics from the Department for Education (DoE) show that there were 53,420 children in foster placements during 2017. This number has slowly increased over the last few years at the same time as there was a fall in the number of applications to become foster carers.
What has prompted the new advice?
The government are responding to two independent reviews of the UK’s foster care system. The DoE has admitted the current information is not clear enough. Sir Martin Narey’s review of the system claimed that many foster parents feared hugging their foster children for being accused of abuse. Many foster carers also had problems with the foster children taking part in activities and socialising. Foster parents were having to approach social workers to get permission for things like arrangements for school trips.
What will the government’s new advice entail?
Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi announced the new measures. There will be guidance for foster families about physical affection. It will be made clearer for parents and social workers will be urged to help those in foster care have contact with loved ones. The government wants to empower foster families to make more day-to-day parenting decisions. This will include things like being able to taking children to get a haircut, allowing them to go on school trips or go over to friends’ houses. They will also encourage foster families to work with councils and explore ways digital technology could support foster carers’ training. The government will also be funding new approaches to better matching children with families.
A ‘young person’s’ version of the government response has also been created. This will help young people better understand the foster care system and feel more involved.
For more information, read the government’s statement here.