Foster carers should be called more often as expert witnesses on family court care applications, children’s minister Tim Loughton has said.
Loughton told MPs that he agreed that guardians and social workers were spending too little time with children to appreciate fully their needs and wishes.
“This is where foster carers should be able to give evidence in courts,” he told the House of Commons justice select committee.
“They are rarely asked, yet they are usually able to have a better formed view of a child’s needs and wants than a Cafcass guardian who has spent half-an-hour with a child in the last three months.
“Despite the best intentions of everyone concerned, the amount of quality time spent with children is low, yet judges place great store on the views of guardians when others have spent more quality time with these children and could provide better evidence and yet they are often not asked.
“That seems to me an odd way of doing things.”
Earlier this month, Loughton published a Foster Carer’s Charter to set guidelines on how local authorities, social workers and foster carers should work together. However he has come under fire for failing to compel all local authorities to sign up to it.
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