Adoption and Fostering: We Must Focus on Difficult to Place Children
On Monday 19th January, Caroline Selkirk, Chief Executive of British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) wrote in the Guardian about the importance of placing children in care correctly. Above all, her focus was on those “difficult to place … particularly adolescents,” and those from ethnic minority backgrounds.
She asks a poignant question: “newborn babies can be easy to place for adoption and fostering, but what about older children?”
Regarding foster care priorities over the last two decades, she describes how general emphasis has shifted to placements with permanency in mind. This is because of the central role that parents and a family life play in the development of a youngster. Clearly older children also benefit from a sense of permanence and security: the age difference shouldn’t make them any less entitled to quality care than a newly-born child.
Caroline also outlines groups newly eligible for fostering:
“There have been recent positive changes that focus on reducing delay, opening the criteria to prospective carers … for example, gay couples”. As an agency keen on identifying more high quality foster parents, we welcome recruitment from a larger pool of potential carers.
She then goes on to cover some developmental points she thinks the care sector needs to address:
- the revised framework for long-term foster care
- further development of special guardianship
- effective support, specifically financial help for carers
- challenges to adoption
As she sees it, these issues will need to be dealt with partly by building on sector expertise. But also going forward, future solutions should be increasingly developed with child-centred responses in mind.
We’re really pleased to see that Caroline has done such a fantastic job in highlighting pressing issues, like the need for permanency, and that some children are easier to place than others. On top of that, we hope that with increased discussion – on a global platform like the Guardian – we can make 2015 the year that real progress is made, in improving standards of care for all foster children.