The Education Committee in England conducted an Inquiry into Fostering in 2017. The inquiry looked at a range of fostering issues, including the recruitment and retention of foster carers, the sufficiency of the recognition, support and recompense given to foster carers and concerns over reductions in the number of available foster care places.
- The Fostering Network was instrumental in convincing the committee of the need for this Inquiry.
- Written evidence was invited up to the 25 November and we encouraged our supporters and members to contribute.
- The Committee published their report of the Inquiry in December 2017. Their recommendations came under three categories of: valuing young people, valuing foster carers, and valuing care.
- We were pleased with some of the recommendations, but feel the committee could have gone further in other areas, particularly around foster carer pay. Find out more about our response to the Inquiry in this policy blog.
Our oral evidence
Kevin Williams, Chief Executive of The Fostering Network, gave oral evidence to the Inquiry on 1 February 2017. A video of the session can be viewed on the Parliament website.
Our written submissions
We prepared two written submissions - one focusing on fostering and another on staying put, both of which are available to download from this page.
In summary, our response focused on how we can move towards a system where every child in care is found the right placement and both child and carer are supported to help make the placement work. We call for each local authority to conduct an annual needs analysis of their local looked after children population in order to determine types of care placements required and to inform a targeted recruitment programme for foster carers who are able to meet the needs of the current care population. A needs analysis would also allow for different types of commissioning models to emerge, as well as commissioning that is more needs and outcome-based rather than cost-based. It would also help to ensure that fostering services – local authority and independent fostering provider – only recruited foster carers for whom there was an actual need.