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Government Investigating how to Improve Foster Care
A consultation has been launched to find ways of improving foster care provision
A stocktake and consultation have been put into motion by the Department for Education, to investigate how to improve current foster care provision. Mark Owers and Martin Narey have been appointed to analyse the status, role and function of foster carers in relation to other professionals; the stocktake will review how the experiences of young people can be improved and will take a look at what is working best in fostering.
The consultation is as a result of the education committee’s fostering inquiry and will seek the views of practitioners, foster carers, care leavers, children in care and academics. It will run until 16th June and will investigate the stability of the current system and the foster care market as well as the recruitment and retention of foster carers. There have been concerns expressed by children’s services leaders over ‘golden hello’s’ being used as incentives for foster carers to leave council-run services, with councils then being charged inflated rates for the carers.
Alison Michalska, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, suggested that the sector should look “long and hard at the costs of fostering placements”. She said, “75% of children in care are in foster placements, many of those placements are out of the immediate local authority area. Sometimes that’s necessary and a good thing for the child concerned; often it’s because of a lack of more local placement capacity.”
Edward Timpson, Children’s minister, explained that the stocktake would aid the government’s understanding of current provision “so that every child gets the stable, nurturing home environment they deserve”.