Elaine Farmer and Sue Moyers
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
ISBN 978 1 84310 6319
Farmer and Moyers’ useful study took place across four local authorities with a sample of 270 children. Almost half were living with family and friends and the other half with unrelated foster carers. There was a follow up two years after placement.
The circumstances of the children, their families and kin, as well as non-related carers, are clearly documented in a series of helpful graphs.
The developing practice of kinship placements has a long way to go if we are to support all carers and children with the benefits that are afforded to mainstream carers. Kinship families are more likely to live in overcrowded housing, be poor and not in receipt of social work support, training or equitable payments or allowances. The study shows that children placed with family and friends do as well as those with unrelated foster carers but have an important advantage in that their placements last longer. Children are shown to thrive with members of their families and are pleased to be there.
The book includes many quotes from kinship carers in relation to the assessment process, support available and social work attitudes, many of which perpetuate the negative views of social workers spread through the media.
Councils need to address this and begin to celebrate positive intervention that is sensitive and delivers family need.
The final chapter on the implications for policy and practice highlights the need to have clear policy and to develop this area of work.
Sarah Clayson is family placement service manager at Oxfordshire CouncilPublished in Community Care 5 February 2009