Foster Children on the move
29 September 2015 by Rachel Earnshaw
A Freedom of Information request submitted by Action for Children has revealed that close to one in four foster children in the UK has moved home two or more times in the past year, with some moving seven or more times.
The request was sent to every UK local authority and more than two thirds responded. There were 64,372 children in care in the 143 councils that responded between April 2014 and March 2015. Of that number 14,583 had two or more placements with 168 having seven or more placements.
Councils have said that they are doing everything possible to limit the need for children to move around the system. Action for Children has launched an appeal to find the best homes for vulnerable children and is urging foster parents who will “stick with them through thick and thin” to come forward.
John Downing, director of children’s placements at Action for Children, said while sometimes it was “appropriate” to move a child in care, behaviour could also play a part in causing placements to “break down”.
Roy Perry, of the Local Government Association, which represents councils in England, said that while the majority of placements worked out, “unfortunately there are occasions when they don’t.”
Mr Perry, who is chairman of the Association’s children and young people board, said the trauma and neglect experienced by many children in the care system could have an impact on their daily lives with foster families.
“Other common factors for having to move a child to a different carer include court decisions, a relationship breakdown between a child’s biological family and foster carer, or if the child has severe behavioural problems or health issues that emerge as the child begins to open up about what brought them into care in the first place.”
“Whatever the circumstances, councils will do everything possible to limit the need for children to move around the system.”
A spokeswoman for England’s Department for Education said the government had put in place “comprehensive and far-reaching support” for children in foster care since 2010.
The spokeswoman also said the government was working closely with councils “to help them recruit foster carers who can meet the needs of children who are harder to place, such as sibling groups and children with complex needs.”
She said foster carer recruitment was improving in England while the government also wanted a broader range of foster carers to come forward to help improve placement stability and permanence.