Privately fostered children are often removed from the UK when they turn 18 because professionals have failed to check their immigration status years earlier when they entered the country, according to a leading barrister.
Nadine Finch, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers, which specialises in child and immigration law, told a conference today organised by Tower Hamlets Council that social workers often did not ask about the immigration status of privately fostered children when this could be essential for their future
“Often nobody talks about the immigration status but when children reach 18 some of them have to go back to their country of origin if their asylum claim has failed,” she added
Finch also said there were no up-to-date statistics on the number of children privately fostered in the UK, and that the British Association for Adoption and Fostering’s estimate of 10,000 was now thought to be too low.
The Victoria Climbié case prompted the government, through the Children Act 2004 to introduce new measures that require private foster parents to notify local authorities about arrangements and councils to promote this duty, but it stopped short of bringing in a register of private fostering arrangements.
However, government figures at the end of 2005 revealed there were just 730 notified arrangements in England.