Demand for action on private fostering

The lack of priority given to private fostering by Lord Laming
in the Victoria Climbié report is “deeply disappointing”, Jan
Lord, freelance trainer and consultant for Talawa Social Work
Training and Consultancy, told delegates.

“Concern about private fostering isn’t new,” she said.
“But Laming recommended that legislation for private fostering
should be reviewed within three years. Is it ever going to

Following the Victoria Climbié Inquiry, the DoH set up a
review of private fostering. As part of this, the DoH asked Talawa
to conduct stakeholder reviews on its behalf. The survey and the
DoH review is yet to be published.

Lord said that soon into her research it became “absolutely
clear that registration is the only way forward”. The survey found
that the privately fostered children had been threatened with being
“sent back to Africa” if they misbehaved. Racism had been a
dominant part of their lives and all of them talked about the
damage to their identity, being left with low self-esteem and
feelings of isolation.

There was a lack of assessment of children’s needs and
children did not have any contact with community networks. “Carers
had serious limitations and wouldn’t have been approved as
local authority foster carers,” Lord added.

All interviewees felt there were currently no real safeguards
for privately fostered children and few local authorities knew how
many privately fostered children there were in their area.

“The general level of standards could be improved by private
foster carers being registered and having access to training in the
same way that standards have been improved for childminders,” Lord

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