The Fostering Network is calling on all governments of the UK to enable children and young people who move within, or out of, the care system to be able to maintain their most important relationships.
This is the message behind our new campaign, Keep Connected: Maintaining Relationships When Moving On.
About the campaign
The relationship between fostered children and their former foster carers is increasingly being recognised as extremely important to the development and wellbeing of the child.
In response to feedback from our members, we are campaigning on the importance of maintaining relationships between children and young people and their former foster carers.
Research shows the ongoing presence of an existing attachment figure, remaining available and continuing to have a supportive role, is vital in enabling a child to develop new attachments. However, foster carers have told us they have not been able to stay in contact with former fostered children despite the child wanting to stay in touch.
We are calling on the UK’s governments to develop guidance and regulations to help fostering services support the bond between foster carer and child as they move to another home.
Keep Connected: Maintaining Relationships When Moving On research report
This report outlines the findings of research undertaken by The Fostering Network on children and young people maintaining relationships with their former foster carers, and makes recommendations on how Governments in the UK can improve the current situation. Good relationships help to build trust, and help children create a sense of belonging and identity. All children need to understand their past and to build confidence in their ability to sustain relationships in the future.
We want your help!
The Fostering Network is calling on the UK's governments to introduce guidance and regulations. You can help us by contacting your political representative (you can find your MP, MSP or MLA by using the search below or by visiting www.theyworkforyou.com. If you live in Wales you can find your AM on the Welsh Assembly website ) and telling them why it is so important that young people are supported to maintain their relationship with their former foster carers.
It is really important that your write in your own words, telling your representative about your own experiences around contact with former fostered children. That way, together, our message will be more powerful.
However, here are some key messages from our campaign which might be helpful to you.
- Foster carers have a crucial role to play in supporting children as they move on, whether this is a move home or a move to a permanent placement. Children in care are likely to have previously experience loss and maintaining good relationships can matter more than anything else to these children.
- Children and young people in care are being prevented from having contact with their former foster carers - the view being from their social workers that a quick, clean break is considered best.
- Attachments impact on social and emotional development, educational achievement and mental health. The practice of cutting off the relationship between the child and their foster carer is damaging and social work practice needs to change as a matter of urgency.
- You can end your letter by asking your political representative to write to the Children's Minister asking them to introduce guidance and regulations that require that children and young people in care are enabled to remain in contact with their former foster carers and that foster carers are enabled to support their former fostered children as they move home, move to a permanent placement, or move into and through the leaving care process.
Finally, the voice of children in foster care is always very powerful and can really help to influence politicians. If you could support children and young people to write to their political representative, that would really help the campaign.
For updates on this campaign and all our other campaigning, email our campaigns team.
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