Changes are needed to make long-term foster care work more successfully for both foster carer and child, according to a new report by the Fostering Network, which calls for the development of stronger statutory frameworks for long-term foster care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In the report the Fostering Network argues that long-term foster care should be regarded as the permanence option of choice for most children in care who cannot return to their birth family or live with wider family and friends. The organisation allow believes that long-term fostering placements made as part of a permanency planning process should have a distinct status and be formally confirmed by the local authority/trust.
The report, Long-term Foster Care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, is based on a survey of foster carers which revealed support for managing long-term foster care placements differently from other fostering placements. The report outlines a number of policy and practice recommendations, including the need for additional training for foster carers offering long-term placements, improved delegation of authority for decision making and a process of reviews tailored to what works for each child.
In addition, the Fostering Network believes that a child’s foster carer should be entitled to apply to be assessed to provide long-term care if a long-term placement is decided to be in the best interests of the child, irrespective of which type of agency the foster carer is registered with.
Report author Madeleine Tearse, the Fostering Network’s policy manager, said: “Historically long-term foster care has not had a distinct status within foster care provision, nor has it had a high status as a lasting solution, or as a permanence option, for children who cannot return home.
“However, this situation is now changing. It is attracting respect and attention among policy makers across the UK, and opportunities exist to improve the policy frameworks within which long-term foster care operates.
“We are therefore calling for the development of statutory frameworks in each of the countries – it is only then that long-term foster care will receive the support, status and awareness needed to work well everywhere.”
For media enquiries contact the Fostering Network press office on 020 7620 6425 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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