Councils accused of failing to provide short-term foster care

    Short foster care breaks for children from struggling families
    have been left on the shelf due to lack of funding and high
    turnover of staff within councils, a Government commissioned report
    has found, writes Shirley Kumar.

    It recommends an integrated approach between councils and
    central government to provide support to families. The move could
    prevent the child being taken into care.

    The researchers from the Institute of Education Thomas Coram
    Research Unit found that although councils have had the power to
    provide the schemes since 1989 only a dozen do so.

    “Schemes have ended when a particular manager or
    co-ordinator has left their post or when short-term funding has
    ended,” said the report.

    Councils are discouraged from creating short-term care schemes
    because they fear it would affect the recruitment of full-time
    foster carers, the report found. However, short-break carers tend
    to be people who cannot foster full time so their recruitment would
    not affect the fostering pool, researchers said.

    Support Foster Care: Developing a short-break service for
    children in need is available from The Institute of Education on:
    020 7612 6050.

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