“All children, including those in foster care, need and deserve the love, care and support of a family. I welcome this review of fostering which shines a light on what being in foster care feels like for a child.
“I support many of the report’s recommendations, including giving clearer guidance to help foster carers so they know they are allowed to give their foster children physical affection like hugs and kisses, if the child wants them. I also support plans to give foster carers more freedom to make day to day parenting decisions.
“We know from the foster children we speak to that what they dislike most is the instability in the system and the stigma associated with being looked after. So we need to see the Government and local authorities prioritise stability of placement for children in care and for foster children to be treated like any other child and receive the same opportunities as others.
“However, I do not support the recommendations to remove Independent Reviewing Officers. We know from cases referred to our advice service Help at Hand that IROs often raise the alarm about a child’s situation that needs help to resolve.
“There are 70,000 children in the care of the state and they have faced more challenges in their short lives than most of us will ever know. The majority will live with foster families who have the immense responsibility to provide the secure and loving environment they need to help them recover and flourish. The Government’s ambitions for those children should be high and this report provides an opportunity for Ministers to do all they can to build a world-class foster system – loving, secure, stable and aspirational, with children’s voices at its heart. They must take it.”
Read Foster Care in England – the report of the independent review of the fostering system in England which includes 36 recommendations.
A summary of the main themes emerging from the call for evidence: The National Fostering Stocktake Call for Evidence Report February 2018
Analysis of data from the independent review into foster care in England by Sir Martin Narey and Mark Owers: Looked after children in foster care: analysis
Initial statement to IROs – Sharon Martin, Chair of the National IRO Managers Partnership in response to the report of the independent review of the fostering system in England:
“We welcome the publication of the Fostering Stocktake and are pleased that the voice of children is loud and clear throughout this report. Putting their needs first must be a core part of any change to the fostering system.
“However, given the report’s acknowledgement of the need for independent advocacy, we are surprised by the call for the removal of Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs), and by the absence of any robust justification for their removal. We are concerned about the impact on support for children’s rights and entitlements.”
NIROMP are in the process of considering the report findings and are consulting with members and key partners in regards to next steps. Formal statement to follow.