A UK-wide shortage of foster carers has prompted the Fostering
Network to start a campaign to improve the handling of allegations
against foster carers.
Although insisting children’s welfare was paramount, chair of the
Fostering Network board David Hadjicostas said its study of 3,000
foster carers showed that allegations made by fostered children –
and the way councils and agencies dealt with them – were causing
fear among foster carers.
The network is calling for greater transparency in the process for
dealing with allegations, as set out in the National Minimum
Standards for Fostering Services 2002. This says that
information about the investigation procedures must be made known
to local authority staff, foster carers, and children and young
people. It also says that independent support for foster carers
during an investigation should be provided.
The charity is setting up regional forums to collect information on
issues affecting foster carers, with a view to taking its campaign
to the government in November, Hadjicostas said. “We need to always
act in the best interest of the children, but we need councils to
recognise the families and offer them support as well.”
The campaign was prompted by research for the Department for
Education and Skills aimed at improving the status, support and
training of foster carers as promised by the Every Child
Matters – The Next Steps document, which was published in