Intensive fostering back on the agenda

Intensive foster care placements for children with anti-social
behavioural problems have been included in the government’s
consultation for the Parenting Fund.

The placements will offer specialist help and support and an
opportunity for children to grow up in stable conditions before
being returned to their birth family.

The consultation, published jointly by children’s minister
Margaret Hodge and Treasury minister Paul Boateng, contains
proposals on how to use the £25 million Parenting Fund. All of
the money will go to voluntary and community organisations.

The proposals include more funding for home visiting schemes in
which members of the public will make regular welfare visits to the
homes of parents who are finding it hard to cope or where children
are considered to be at risk of abuse and neglect.

They also propose increasing the availability of help-lines for
parents, parenting workshops and support services for groups who
currently receive little access such as black and minority ethnic
families, fathers or parents of adolescents.

The consultation document adds: “Part of the fund could be
used to develop options to include intensive family support (as
outlined in the Anti-Social Behaviour White Paper) to help parents
where their child’s behaviour is beyond what can be coped
with in the home.
“This could include residential parenting, respite care and
intensive fostering.”

However, earlier plans for intensive fostering, raised over the
past year in government White Papers on both Criminal Justice and
Anti-social Behaviour, were dropped following opposition from
children’s charities.

A Barnardo’s spokesperson said: “If you have a very high level
of difficulty with a child and you want help, you are giving
yourself another hurdle by moving the child away from the

Hodge said: “I look forward to hearing views from outside
government on the best ways of targeting the fund to help families
get the support they need.”

The consultation paper can be found at

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