Long term foster care is an alternative to adoption
It used to be that when you talked about permanence in child care you were referring to adoption. But things are changing.
Next month the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) will be hosting a conference in London entitled ‘Achieving permanence through fostering’.
The government has be making loud noises about this recently and a change is necessary – especially when you consider that just 5% of looked-after children are adopted each year and 75% live with foster carers.
Secretary of State for Children & Families, Edward Timpson – who will be the keynote speaker at this conference – said:
A priority for me this year is to improve placement stability. Too many children have far too many placements whilst they are in care. I want to ensure that where foster carers are able to provide children with a safe, loving, stable home until they reach adulthood, they are supported to do so and that these placements are formally recognised. That is why I am proposing to introduce a clear statutory framework for long term foster care to make it a real permanence option where long term foster care is the plan for the child.
Improving stability is vital as the lack of a ‘safe, loving and stable home’ is damaging the children and young people taken into care in our communities.
Currently we have a situation where approximately 11% of looked-after children will experience three or more foster care placements each year. This deeply unsettling.
The BAAF conference will explore ways to promote permanence through fostering. It will look into what this permanence means when parental responsibility remains with birth parents and the state. And it is a valid question which needs to be debated.
Long term foster care
What is needed first and foremost, however, is the foster carers willing to offer this long term care to looked-after children. At Perpetual Fostering we are fortunate to have foster carers who are already providing long term care. But as they are providing a home to their current foster children, another 30,000 young people will come into care this year.
It is a constant struggle to find new foster carers and bring them into the care system. When people think about offering a stable family life to a child, they still think adoption rather than long term fostering. But there are numerous benefits to fostering which people should consider.
When you become a foster carer you have access to a support network – which at Perpetual Fostering is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This support covers training, constant advice and guidance, hands on help when required and foster care payments.
If you are interested in offering long term foster care or would like to know more about the support available, please contact our team online or call us on 0845 0740076.