And most recently…
The third evidence session for the Education Committee’s fostering inquiry met recently in April.
Various topics relating to fostering children were examined in detail during the session: the educational outcomes for children in care and concerns relating to special guardianship orders were discussed. Another area that was scrutinized was whether the system for commissioning placements still remains fit for purpose.
The Education Committee examined recent figures that were published by Ofsted. These highlight the fact that the reported number of applications from people interested in fostering children has fallen by a third. Ofsted also reported that only 1 in 3 local authority providers are now rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.
As part of its remit, the Committee will be looking into projects that are currently being piloted as a part of the Department of Education’s special ‘Innovation Programme’. As far as fostering children is concerned, the scope of the inquiry covers:
the stability of foster care placements, including the impact of the Staying Put initiative since its introduction;
the recruitment and retention of foster carers, and the capacity of the fostering system;
the foster care market, including the costs of commissioning of services, financial incentives in the recruitment of foster carers;
the role of voluntary and independent foster care providers, and their relationships and cooperation with local authorities;
the sufficiency of current recognition, support and recompense given to foster carers;
foster care for young people with specific or challenging needs, and its relationship with residential care;
the involvement of young people in their care, including their role in decision making;
what the Government should consider in its stock take of foster care.
Neil Carmichael, the chair of the meeting, announced to the Committee members that the fostering inquiry will now be postponed because of the general election. It will reconvene later this year.
This inquiry should have a considerable impact when it reports in full. It has received written evidence from amongst others: The Fostering Network, Action for Children and The Adolescent and Children’s Trust and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services and Local Government Association. Given that pressures are mounting in the care system and applications for fostering children have fallen by a third, there will need to be some drastic measures put in place: we need a system that can deliver successful outcomes for looked after children, not one that is about containment of an escalating crisis.
Things to consider before fostering children!
Fostering children is a major decision: the following are just a few simple considerations. At Rainbow, we would be delighted to answer any queries you might have: we have a friendly, helpful recruitment team which can be reached on 020 8427 3355.
Can You Love a Looked After Child As Your Own?
Ask Some Crucial Questions Before You Make a Decision to Foster
Do You Have the Time and Resources to Foster a Challenged Child?
Are You a Team Player?
Do you possess the emotional resilience for fostering children?
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
More general information about fostering children: visit http://bit.ly/2pc8SEc