Local authorities are refusing to place children in foster or adoptive homes if their prospective parents own certain dogs, it has emerged.
This has concerned the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), which has now published a good practice guide to help social workers when they are considering placing a child in a home with dogs.
One council deemed all the dogs below unsuitable for under-11s, but BAAF’s guide described this as poor practice.
Staffordshire bull terrier
Border Collie (top)
The ban is said to be the result of a 6% rise in the number of dog attacks reported in England last year. But BAAF chief executive Caroline Selkirk said it would be a “shame” for children in care to miss out on living with a pet, “particularly when it is these children who could benefit the most from the experience”.
BAAF’s guide states some councils ban “particular breeds without evidence to justify this”, which risks preventing, “very suitable families from fostering younger children, simply because they own a particular breed of dog”.
Rather than have rigid policies, the organisation is urging councils to consider each dog as an individual.