Keep Connected: Our campaign story so far
The Fostering Network have been running the Keep Connected campaign since 2015. Through this campaign we hope to create lasting change in the way that local authorities and fostering services plan and support contact between children and their former foster carers.
The campaign was sparked from hearing from too many foster carers who felt that their relationships with children that they had cared for were being severed when the child moved on; this being traumatic for both the carers and the child. Listen to our podcast to hear about the experiences of foster carers and care experienced people who have had relationships broken by the current care system.
In 2019 we launched our Not Forgotten report which found that the current care system does little to promote fostered children’s relationships when they move within or out of it and is far too often, in fact, obstructing them. Fewer than half of foster carers (45 per cent) said they always or usually keep in touch with children when they move on to another care arrangement and more than two thirds of foster carers told us they received little or no support to maintain contact with their former fostered children.
This is why we created the Keep Connected Principles to shape how transitions from and within the care system are approached across the UK. The principles are supported by Action for Children, Become, NAFP, NAIRO, Article 39 and BASW. Send them to your fostering service provider and ask them to sign up to them.
Campaign win in Scotland!
The Children (Scotland) Act 2020 placed a new duty on local authorities to take steps to promote, on a regular basis, personal relations and direct contact between a child in their care and their siblings. This definition of siblings includes any other person with whom the child has lived or is living, and with whom the child has an ongoing relationship with the character of a relationship between siblings – therefore including foster siblings.
The guidance to accompany these regulations will be strongly aligned to our Keep Connected Principles and encourage all fostering providers to promote children’s relationships with former foster carers.
We discuss our Keep Connected campaign and hear from a foster carer about her attempt to keep in contact with her former fostered child. We also talk to two social workers, who were themselves in foster care, about the extent to which care experienced children are encouraged to maintain their important relationships when they move on.