Response to the annual Department for Education statistics on children in careThe publication of the Department for Education (DFE) annual statistics for children in care showed that Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs) have risen by 28 per cent to 2740 since 2012. SGOs are court orders made for children who cannot live at home, which allow the child to live permanently with the guardian. The majority (58 per cent) of special guardians are former foster carers.
TACT has been a strong supporter of the use of SGOs which can give children who have been in care the security and stability they need to thrive. Once an SGO is made the child will no longer be looked after. However, this sharp rise might indicate that the use of orders is extending beyond the original intentions.
TACT interim CEO David Bradley said;
“The introduction of Special Guardianship Orders allowed foster carers to offer a permanent home to a child in care without adopting. We are, however, increasingly hearing of foster carers being asked to consider special guardianship shortly after a placement is made, or placements being made only on condition that an SGO is part of the care plan. SGOs should only be considered when the time is right for carers and the young person.”
The statistics also show an increase of 15 per cent to 3980 in the number of children adopted since 2012. This rise has occurred before many of the Government’s flagship proposals, contained in the Children and Families Bill currently before Parliament, have been introduced. The statistics also show that the larger majority of children in care (75 per cent) are fostered, increasing from 72 per cent since 2012.
David Bradley said;
“We fully support the government’s aim to have more children adopted. Rises are likely to continue and we hope some of the new proposals, such as fostering for adoption, are introduced gradually to ensure the best placement for every child. As the statistics show, fostering remains, and will continue to remain, the suitable option for most children in care.”
There has also only been a small rise in the number of 19 years olds still living with their foster carers. There are 330 of these ‘staying put’ placements, a rise of ten since 2012. TACT believes that all children in care should be able to stay with their foster carers until 21 and is supporting amendments to the Children and Families Bill seeking to introduce this.
For further information contact Gareth Crossman, TACT Executive Director of Policy, Communications and Fundraising 07976 389 925 or 020 8695 8120.
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