The Fostering Network's 'State of the Nation' report 2019 - our response
John Simmonds, CoramBAAF's Director of Policy, Research and Development, responds to the publication of the Fostering Network's 'State of the Nation' report 2019.
'The Fostering Network's 'State of the Nation' identifies a number of key issues that reflect on-going concerns about the welfare of children in care and the core element of their welfare - the foster carers who care for them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and over the short, medium or long term. These children will have experienced a range of difficult circumstances with uncertainty, loss and trauma having a direct impact on their development. Caring for these children requires a very high level of commitment, compassion, knowledge and skill - parenting plus at its very best. These issues have long been recognised but as Fostering Network identify, there is enormous variability in the support that foster carers receive and for some this can result in serious consequences - compassion fatigue, trauma and no longer being a foster carer. The consequences that this has for any child they are caring for or may care for in the future are equally troubling.
It should not be beyond the bounds of human endeavour to design and deliver a fostering system that can resolve these issues. They are neither new, nor do we lack research evidence. And we currently spend a very large amount of money on the system. In the long term, an "invest to save" model could bring enormous benefits. But whatever they are, there are three sets of people who would reap the rewards - children first, foster carers second and then our society as a whole.'