Some councils are only “at the very beginning” in developing private fostering notification systems in line with government regulations introduced more than a year ago.
Paul D’Inverno, the Commission for Social Care Inspection national fostering co-ordinator, told delegates at a conference organised by Tower Hamlets Council that its inspections of a small number of councils had shown “variable” progress.
CSCI is to inspect private fostering services at 50 councils by the end of the year and will produce a report to inform the government about the effectiveness of its regulations.
D’Inverno said good councils were planning private fostering services at a strategic level, “not just adding them on at the end”, but not all authorities were engaging in this type of good practice.
The government tightened monitoring of private fostering through the Children Act 2004 after the Victoria Climbié case.
Since July 2005, private foster carers have been legally required to notify councils of any arrangements and local authorities have had to promote this duty, but ministers did not introduce a national register, as was urged by campaigners.
The British Association for Adoption and Fostering had been one of the organisations that supported a register.
However, chief executive David Holmes told the conference that Baaf had changed its position and now believed local notification systems were the best way forward.