Adoption And Foster Placements Must Be Right First Time
The Guardian’s recent article, part of their Social Care Network, argues the case of how important it is for foster children to have a choice in the matter of where they go to live. This stems from a basic fact; that ‘good foster placement decisions transform’ the lives of the children concerned.
On 2nd December, Andy Elvin – chief executive of the Adolescent and Children’s Trust – wrote an article about the current state of foster care, specifically in England. In a stark warning, he reported that the National Audit Office (NAO) has reached the conclusion that the Department for Education cannot demonstrate it is “meeting its objectives for children in foster and residential care”.
At Perpetual Fostering, we see our conscientious and thorough approach to matching placements as fundamental to our success in what we do. This is why we strive to maintain the highest standards of foster care, whilst staying honest and transparent throughout our interactions with everyone involved. Elvin reinforces the importance of this, by describing the possible outcome when priorities regarding fostering differ from this core belief: that “multiple foster placements and placement instability … are toxic to children’s wellbeing and their long term welfare”.
He goes on to draw a comparison between the state of play in Scotland and England regarding foster care, showing the need for all agencies to maintain the highest possible standards:
- Surveys have shown that close to 100% of children in Scotland have met their foster carers before moving in;
- South of the border, the figure stands at 57%.
Elvin sums up the contrast as he sees it: “whenever possible, children should have a choice of care placement and the opportunity to meet carers before a placement is agreed”.
As the results show, this is not yet not the case in England. Elvin then goes on to compare this situation with that of adoption, where a range of options tend to be the norm, in case a particular placement happens to fall through.
He continues: “much has been made of the need for parallel planning for adoption, where several care plans are made at once in case the potential adoption falls through. The same should be true of foster care.”
At Perpetual Fostering, we hope this helps to frame a larger conversation about fostering in future; an ideal place to start could be if all agencies are managing to plan contingencies as well as they plan the actual foster placements – as is currently the case with adoption placements.
As Elvin states, at the end of the day, the likely results of a lack of careful planning regarding placements will be poorer care for children, and at a greater cost – if we don’t manage to get placements right first time.
Find out about the standards we uphold at Perpetual Fostering, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about child fostering in general.