There is an important Early Day Motion being put forward to Parliament by Norman Lamb MP.
This motion proposes that foster carers are covered by the Public Interest Disclosure Act. The Act is an important piece of legislation which protects people who talk out about alleged wrong-doing or poor practice. Almost all people in the UK who work are covered by this, but not foster carers.
As foster carers can be in a position where they are best placed to know about and protect the children they care for. If any body or person is not fulfilling their legal duties or putting not putting the child’s welfare first, foster carers should be able to speak out without fear of recrimination. This clearly is not the case at the moment.
Please contact your MP and ask them to support this motion, or for their reasons why they would not support it. We will be pushing for this motion to be passed in the coming weeks.
Your MP’s details can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/
Thank you for supporting this important proposal, and feel free to contact us if your MP gives any objection to this motion.
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that huge damage can be done to the child, and yet some social workers and local authorities persist in this outdated thinking that ‘stability’ is somehow promoted by cutting a child off from its past life.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.
Polly Baynes writes about the questions we need to be asking ourselves about contact and how we can make the right decisions to make sure that contact is a positive and beneficial experience for children and young people.
Hillingdon Council have been criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman. The council continued to look for alternative care options, despite the child being settled with foster carers who wished to continue looking after her long-term.
It would seem that the council wanted the foster carers to become Special Guardians, but the carers felt that it would not provide the support that was required. The full article can be read here:
This case highlights the care which local authorities should be giving to the individual needs of each child.
The Fostering Network (fostering.net) have graciously given us permission to reproduce an article from the Autumn 2013 edition of their magazine.
The article ‘Call any time’ highlights some issues around contact once children leave a placement with foster carers.
Following a Freedom of Information Request, Action For Children are highlighting the separation of siblings in foster care. The BBC have two articles on this:
The discussion serves to highlight the importance of sibling relationships. Many children in care stay with a family for many years and form strong bonds with the children of foster carers – these can be lost when a child moves..
Foster carers, other professionals and care leavers are invited to join a meeting near Birmingham on 10 September, to discuss experiences – positive and negative – of maintaining contact between foster families and former fostered children and young people.
An agenda and more information will be posted closer to the time.
Light refreshments will be provided, but there you may want to bring a sandwich for the short lunch break.
10am for 10:30 until 14:30
Chester Road Baptist Church
Please contact us to register your interest in attending, or for more information. You are welcome to just turn up on the day, but we would like to have some ideas of numbers and have an opportunity to talk to you about your experiences prior to the meeting.
The BBC highlight a tragic case, where contact and relationships appear to have played a key role.