The damage caused to children in care who are moved from placement to placement is being highlighted this week in a billboard campaign to mark National Adoption week.
Baaf Adoption and Fostering is calling on more people to come forward to adopt children and for local authorities to set up concurrent planning schemes, where foster carers are also approved as adopters and are supported to care for children while efforts are made to help them return home.
The charity argues that no baby in care should have more than two changes of carer in its first year of life, and wants local authorities to publish annual statistics revealing how many times children under the age of two are moved and why.
“Many children in public care have suffered abuse or neglect and all are in desperate need of stability. Yet many for who adoption is the plan may never find a ‘forever family’ because of a lack of adoptive parents,” explained the charity’s out-going chief executive Felicity Collier.
“We are especially worried about babies – 12% of infants in England under two moved three or more times in the last year. This is a shocking figure. There is evidence that a traumatic change like moving to live with a stranger you don’t recognise can cause damage which may be irreversible to a baby’s developing brain.”
The billboards, which have been posted in London, Manchester, Cardiff and Glasgow and will become increasingly damaged as they are moved from place to place, read: “This poster has no permanent home. Like thousands of kids in care, this poster will be moved again tomorrow.”