Community Care recently published an article in which Bev and Clive and their foster daughter Chrissy talk about what happened when a placement which had lasted 6 years broke down.
Despite both foster carers and child wanting to explore the possibilities for a return, the article examines some of the attitudes and actions of the Local Authority, even when Bev and Clive went to court seeking a Contact Order.
What is the purpose behind denying a child a healthy, supportive relationship which they want? It is well established that huge damage can be done to the child, and yet some social workers and local authorities persist in this outdated thinking that ‘stability’ is somehow promoted by cutting a child off from its past life. Why do we put so much importance on life-story work, if we easily dismiss the relationships themselves?
Earlier this month, the Fostering Network launched an important new campaign: “Keep Connected – Maintaining Relationships When Moving On“.
To compile the report, the Fostering Network surveyed foster carers and looked after children including care leavers, and there is a wealth of statistics. Shockingly, around one third of children surveyed have been prevented from having contact with a former foster carer, despite 81% of children saying that it was important to be able to keep in touch with foster carers they have lived with.
Over half of the children said their social worker does not support them to keep in contact at all, and only one in 10 said their social worker was very supportive.
There are also many comments collected from foster carers and the children and the report as a whole is well worth a read for any foster carer, social worker or policy maker.
The campaign page has a call to action with some ways in which you can help change practice – we would urge you to get involved and also bring this report to the attention of anyone who may be interested.
Fostering Contact were involved in the discussions which initiated this survey by the Fostering Network and continue to work to promote the rights of children to maintain their relationships with foster carers and others. Please contact us if you have experienced any issues around contact or if you would like to get involved.