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Fostering charity advises caution over adoption focus

The Fostering Network is advising the Government against an overwhelming focus on adoption as the way to solve the problems facing the care system, and is cautioning against the use of league tables and targets.


In response to policy announcements made by the Prime Minister, Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network, said:


"What must be at the centre of this debate is the needs of children. All children in care who cannot return home or live with a member of their wider family need a family they can grow up with who can love them, be ambitious for them and help them achieve their potential. All efforts need to be on finding this family, regardless of whether they are foster carers or adopters. Worrying about legal status should be much further down the list of priorities than meeting a child’s needs and providing them with a stable and secure home as quickly as possible.”


Today around 59,000 children are living with 45,000 foster families across the UK. Fostering is usually a temporary way of offering children a home until they can return to their family, although many live with foster carers for years, some for their whole childhoods. Fostered children continue to be legally part of their own family, even if there is limited contact with them. Adoption provides a whole new family for a child, and their legal relationship with their birth family ends. About 4,000 out of the 75,000 children in care away from home in the UK are awaiting adoptive families.


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