A Case for Change for foster care – improvements that need to be made

In June 2021, the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care in England published their Case for Change document. The document aims to set out the problems the children’s social care sector is faced with. It also gives everyone with care experience or in the children’s social care workforce the opportunity to understand the Review team’s thinking and tell them what has been overlooked.

We think the document fell short in many areas, so we have written a response informed by our members to highlight what is missing. 

While we welcome the broad nature of the Review and its focus on supporting and maintaining relationships for children in care, little is mentioned in the Case for Change on how to improve foster care specifically. We therefore had a lot to say in our response.  

Read our response

We made sure our response reflects the views of our foster carer and fostering services members. Thank you to everyone who followed our call to share their views with us and make recommendations for fostering. 

The key things we heard from our members were: 

  • The status of the foster carer in the team around the child needs improving. 
  • Foster carers need to be better supported and remunerated. 
  • Long-term foster care needs to have greater recognition as a permanence option and children in long-term foster care should be afforded the same support and funding as children in other permanence options.

Additionally, we think the system needs to be able to support older children and children with complex needs more effectively.

The good and the solutions

We are aware there are many areas in foster care that need improving and weren’t highlighted in the Case for Change. However, the document also fell short of celebrating how transformational foster care is and how much good practice is currently happening in fostering. 

In our response we suggested solutions that we are confident will improve foster care for both children and young people, as well as their foster carers, such as

  • better sufficiency planning to meet children’s needs locally, 
  • a national register of foster carers,
  • making innovative models of foster care, such as the Mockingbird Programme which provides peer support for foster carers and improves retention and placement stability, available in all local authorities areas. 

We also highlighted areas where more discussion is needed, particularly around changing the culture of foster care to promote relationships for children and the changes that need to happen to ensure foster carers’ skills and expertise are valued. 

We look forward to having these discussions with the Review team and other key stakeholders in the coming months. If you want to share your views please get in touch: policy@fostering.net

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