The Fostering Network is today launching its Keep Connected principles which it hopes will become embedded in the practice of children’s services, with the aim of all children and young people who are moving on from foster families to be enabled to keep in touch with them – and with other significant people in their lives.
The seven principles, which are part of the charity’s wider Keep Connected campaign, have been developed with foster carers, fostering services and organisations in the care sector. The principles include a recognition of the importance of a child’s relationship with their foster family, the need to ensure that this relationship is not ended abruptly, and that maintaining contact after a fostered child moves on should be routinely considered part of the role of a foster carer.
Vicki Swain, campaigns manager at The Fostering Network, said: ‘Moving on in foster care – to adoption, back home or to wider family, to another foster family, to residential care or to adulthood – is a time for a proper ending, not a forever goodbye, as abrupt endings are likely to lead to separation and loss issues for the child.
‘Foster carers play a critical role in supporting a child in the transition to their new family or living arrangements, and they should be a supportive and positive presence throughout and beyond the transition process. While there will be some occasions when it is not in a child’s best interests to keep in contact with their previous foster families or others, these will be the exception rather than the rule. We need a culture shift to ensure that the starting position in any transition planning is for ongoing contact.
‘We hope that foster carers will support the campaign by raising the issue with their fostering service and asking them to ensure that foster carers are included in transition planning to make sure the child’s relationships are a priority. We believe that these principles, if properly adopted by all those involved in the lives of fostered children, could make a significant difference to the wellbeing of those children when they move from one home to another.’