The Unknown Fostering: A study of private fostering

Bob Holman.
Russell House Publishing
ISBN 1 903855 03 09

has been promoting the cause of privately fostered children and their carers
for 40 years. Since the publication of his initial research, little seems to
have changed in the responses of welfare agencies to privately fostered

book is informative and well researched. Private fostering is placed within a
historical, legislative and political context. Most importantly, the author
relates the direct experiences of those who have been privately fostered and
their carers. While interest in private fostering has fluctuated over the
years, there has been a silent recognition that the number of children
privately fostered is much higher than any agency would admit. Privately fostered
children are denied the same safeguards as other children living away from
home, while the contribution of private foster carers remains unrecognised.
Knowledge among welfare professionals remains limited, and services patchy.

are made for reform of the present system, including a more effective awareness
campaign, exploring the case for registration, and inclusion in the Quality
Protects programme, with a budget to match. The call for a more proactive
approach to private fostering by central government and local authorities is
powerfully made, and such action is long overdue.

McGrath is private fostering co-ordinator, Gloucestershire County Council.

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