Over a quarter of foster carers say they ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ receive the vital information they require in order to look after foster children and their own family safely. This data comes from a survey carried out across England by The Fostering Network.
When asked whether they felt they get the vital information they need about children they are asked to foster, fewer than one in 10 said ‘always’.
There are currently around 43,000 foster families in England who are taking care of 50,000 children. Despite this, there are still thousands more children in need of new homes and it is estimated that 7,000 new foster families are needed this year alone. It is thought that due to this demand, some councils are withholding important information that could deter foster parents from taking in the child.
In response to the survey’s findings, The Fostering Network is calling on local authorities to provide carers with full information about the children they take in.
“This survey makes clear that information is not shared as a matter of course with foster carers, and we know how damaging this can be to their families and fostered children.
“This is not acceptable. Whether by failure to inform, or a limited availability, a lack of information inhibits the abilities of the foster carers to meet the needs of, and to provide appropriate care for, a child.” – Jackie Sanders, director of public affairs at The Fostering Network.
David Simmonds, chairman of the Local Government Association’s children and young people’s board responded by pointing out that in some cases it is either not possible or not appropriate for councils to disclose all details about an individual child, for example when the child is in the middle of a court case or is placed in emergency foster placement.