In response to the Queen’s Speech, Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: ‘While The Fostering Network welcomes the Prime Minister’s self-declared “unashamedly pro-adoption” stance, and his subsequent backing of this stance in his Government’s legislative agenda as set out in the Queen’s Speech, we ask the Government to understand that adoption and foster care are not mutually exclusive. On behalf of the vast majority of children in care, who will spend their childhoods in loving, stable and secure foster families, we call on this Government to be unashamedly pro-foster care as well.
‘Children in care deserve a Prime Minister that is unashamedly pro-best outcomes for children and anti-hierarchy of care.
‘Adoption may be the best route to permanence for some children, and we have no doubts that post-adoption support should be improved. However it will always be a small minority of children in the care system for whom adoption is the most appropriate route to permanence. The vast majority of children in care will live with foster families, some of whom will spend their whole childhood with one foster family. The Prime Minister is right to want to give children who may be adopted every chance of a positive future, yet his approach only focuses on a minority of children in care – and that does all children a disservice.
‘Since the contents of the Queen’s Speech was first discussed on Sunday, we have heard from foster carers who are devastated by the suggestion that the homes they provide aren’t good enough for children. We want this Government to consider whether its landmark policies should be focused on a small minority of children at the expense of so many other children. Foster care can, and does, provide the sort of loving, stable and secure, homes the Prime Minister appears to believe is only possible through adoption. Fostering needs the same passion, support and investment from the Government as adoption.
‘The promise of the first Care Leavers Covenant for England is welcome news. Along with the Staying Put legislation, the Covenant will give hope to the thousands of young people who leave care each year. We urge the Government to ensure that both the Covenant and Staying Put are properly and consistently implemented so that care leavers, wherever they are, have the best possible transition to adulthood and independence.’