Foster carers and children formerly in their care are often being prevented from, or not supported in, keeping in contact by fostering agencies and social workers, despite the majority of children in care thinking it is an important thing to do.
A report by The Fostering Network found that 81% of 179 children in foster care felt maintaining relationships was important, yet 55% said their social workers did not support contact “at all”.
More than 1,100 foster carers were also surveyed, and almost a third said their fostering service had not supported contact.
The Fostering Network called on the government to produce guidance to ensure children and young people in care remain in contact with their former foster carers.
It also called for “proper attention” to be paid by inspectors of services to evaluate how relationships between children and foster carers are built and supported.
Vicki Swain, campaigns manager at The Fostering Network, said social work practice should reflect that the “practice of cutting off the relationship between the child and their foster carer is damaging and social practice needs to reflect this as a matter of urgency”.
Swain said: “If the governments of the UK are to create future generations of successful and happy care experienced young people, they have to support them in maintaining the relationships that bring them security, happiness, and the freedom to express themselves and fulfil their potential.”