Industry News: Chief Executive of The Who Cares? Trust says exclusive focus on adoption will not help majority of children in care
‘Government figures suggest there are 6,770 children in England waiting for adoption. Where adoption is the right choice for a particular child, we welcome measures that minimise unnecessary delays in the adoption process.
However, we must not forget that there are currently 65,520 children in the care system in England, an all-time high. For many children in care adoption may not be the right answer. They may stay in the system for a short time, have complex needs or simply not wish to be adopted. Rather than adoption being promoted almost as a panacea, we would like to see more discussion of how to improve the experience of all children in the care system.
There is evidence of what makes a real difference to the experiences and outcomes of children in care and these things need to be put into practice and properly resourced. More and better recruitment, training and support of foster carers and more high quality residential provision are crucial if we are to ensure that supply can meet demand in the care system. Only by doing this can we provide the best possible placement for every child coming into care and help them achieve the outcomes they deserve.’
Chief Executive, The Who Cares? Trust
The Scottish Government has reported a rise in children coming into care and that nearly three-quarters of children being looked after away from home and family are living with foster carers.
The recently released Children’s Social Work Statistics show that 6,823 children were in care living away from home and family in Scotland as of 31 July 2011 and 5,023 of these children were living with foster carers. This is a rise in children placed with foster carers of 326 (seven per cent) from the previous year.
The Fostering Network is calling on the Scottish Government to offer more support to foster carers and to provide them with a statutory allowance so that not only can current foster carers provide for these children without subsidising the state from their own pocket, but that new ones can also be recruited.
Sara Lurie, director of the Fostering Network Scotland, said: “We called for 1,000 extra foster carers to be recruited in Scotland throughout 2012. This increase in the number of children being placed with foster carers only goes to reinforce what we have said. This rise, combined with people leaving the service or retiring, means that more efforts must be made by the Scottish Government to make fostering an appealing life choice.
“There is no doubting the commitment of foster carers in Scotland but this continuing strain on what is required of them could lead to people being put off from applying rather than being encouraged to come forward and make a difference. The Scottish Government need to act now and offer foster carers in Scotland the support and financial remuneration that they need and deserve.”
You can read the statistics in full on the Scottish Government website.
Fostering News: Fostering Network's CEO encourages the Independent Fostering Sector to participate in the discussions about the future direction of fostering
Robert Tapsfield, Chief Executive of Fostering Network, outlined the challenges facing the foster care sector over the coming months during a speech at Community Foster Care's 'Building Communities – Developing Confidence' Conference in Gloucester yesterday. He stressed the need for sector representatives to make their voices heard with central government about the key issues under review during 2012.
These include: recruitment and retention of carers, assessments and approvals, training and support, delegation of authority and commissioning.
Robert also reminded delegates of the need to evidence good practice and to consider different models of service delivery, highlighting the opportunities that social pedagogy offers.
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