Fostering Contents


147.Foster care provides an invaluable service to society. It gives homes, love and care to some of the most vulnerable young people, allowing them to recover from often-traumatic experiences and grow up in a family environment. It is an immensely challenging role, which is performed with dedication, love, and often great sacrifice by foster carers, both to themselves and their families. We place on record our appreciation to the thousands of foster carers who open their hearts and homes to caring for our young people, and to all involved in the wider foster care system, who work on a daily basis to improve the lives of children across the country.

148.Our inquiry has found that the system is under pressure. Yet we believe that there are several actions that the Government can, and should, take, which would result in real improvements to the lives of young people in foster care, and those that work with them, and we are glad that the Government has begun this journey through its review. By ensuring consistent high-quality practice and application of existing guidelines, the Government can help prevent unnecessary placement breakdowns, engage young people more effectively in their care, and ensure that they can access meaningful advocacy services and contact with siblings. By establishing a national college for foster carers, the Government can address current deficiencies in their working conditions, and give them the support they need. And by taking steps to increase the capacity of the foster care system, and supporting innovation and new ways of working, the Government can enable foster care providers to continue in providing high-quality care and support.

149.The sector needs to be adequately resourced and supported, especially as the number of children in care is rising. But the Government needs to do more than just increase spending. It needs to value fostering, and recognise the immense benefits it brings; value foster carers, and afford them the respect and recognition they deserve; and value the young people living in foster care, as it is they who must be the primary focus of all who work in the children’s care system.

21 December 2017