The Westminster Government has issued a call for evidence for its stocktake of foster care in England.
The stocktake, announced last year, is seeking to understand what currently works well and why, where improvements are needed to achieve better outcomes for fostered children and identify areas where more research is needed.
The Fostering Network believes that the stocktake is very important for fostering in England. Our recent State of the Nation’s Foster Care report identified a range of areas in which the current fostering system is either not working well enough or is under substantial strain. We have already been engaging with the stocktake as it has undertaken a literature review, and we will be submitting evidence to the stocktake based on State of the Nation as well as what we have learnt from our programmes and projects and through our daily interactions with foster carers and fostering services. We would strongly encourage all our members to engage with the stocktake by submitting evidence.
The Government is also specifically asking to hear from care experienced young people and children about their experience of being in foster care.
The stocktake particularly wants to hear about:
- The types of fostering that are currently provided, in order to understand the full range of provision which is available and when and for which young people it is best used.
- What works best within fostering settings to improve outcomes for the children and young people placed.
- What improvements could be made to the way that fostering provision is commissioned, delivered, regulated and inspected to improve outcomes and value for money.
- The status, role and function of foster carers in relation to other professionals as part of the team working with a child in care.
- How the experiences of young people can be improved when entering foster care, transitioning between placements (between carers or into other settings), and leaving foster care.
- Any other issues which might contribute to better outcomes for children
The stocktake is being led by Sir Martin Narey and Mark Owers. Sir Martin Narey is a former head of the prison service and was chief executive of Barnardo’s from 2015-2011. Since 2011, he has advised the government on adoption and has completed an independent review of residential children’s homes. Mark Owers is a children and families social worker who has spent the last 10 years in the public, voluntary and private sector helping to improve children's social care and youth justice in England. He has significant experience in leading national reviews of public services having spent three years in the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit and Cabinet Office