Picture of a polling station

What does a new Government mean for kinship care, foster care and adoption?

  • Date:

The new Labour Government hopefully brings opportunities for our sector to address issues that have plagued the care system for a long time. For years, local authorities and children's services have faced severe underfunding, and resulting in instability in the workforce with a big churn in staff and many leaving the profession citing overwork and overwhelm. Alongside this, the needs of children, young people and families have increased. We urgently need to make sure that social workers, carers, courts, health professionals, and our children feel supported by services that can function effectively. 

CoramBAAF will continue to advocate for proper funding, focus, and support for children's services to meet the needs of all children, particularly those in kinship care, foster care and adoption. 

What might we expect from the new Government? 

The Labour manifesto made a number of commitments that could positively impact the lives of children and families.

We welcome the commitment to develop a strategy to reduce child poverty, as we know this has such an impact on children across the country. Labour also pledged that they would provide access to specialist mental health professionals for children in every school, which could improve support for all children and their wellbeing, especially children in care who are poorly served by mental health provision. We are keen to see how this will work in practice. 

There was a commitment to improve data sharing across services. It is said that a single unique identifier will identify children, as this is believed to be a tool, to better identify those who may otherwise fall through the cracks between public services. And thereby, enable better support for children and families. Whilst we await more details of this, we feel that this commitment would likely impact all services involving children in kinship care, fostering or adoption. 

Labour also committed to “working with local government to support children in care, including through kinship, foster care, and adoption, as well as strengthening regulation of the children’s social care sector”. Though light on specifics, we're encouraged by the manifesto's recognition of our sector and the children in kinship care, foster care, and adoption. This provides a platform for us to influence and shape policy and practice over the coming years. 

What still needs addressing? 


We hope the new Government continues the work their predecessors began. While they will bring new ideas and approaches, there are parts of the Children's social care: stable homes, built on love strategy that remain important. This includes continuing the work of the first-ever national kinship strategy, announced in December 2023. The new statutory guidance on kinship care was in the process of being developed. The work on the strategy and guidance needs to continue with a clear ambition to support kinship families.  

As the focus on kinship care is bigger than ever before, we are thrilled to host our inaugural kinship care conference on 14 October this year. Join us for a day of contemporary insights from researchers, senior leaders, carers and professionals in the children and families sector, to network, discuss and explore the current kinship reform agenda. 


A new minister will be grappling with the challenge of recruitment and retention of foster carers. More action is required to make sure we have enough carers to care for children who need them. Too many foster carers are leaving foster care and not enough are being recruited despite significant efforts by local authorities and Government. The new minister will need to address this urgently. 


Adoption practice is changing., It is important to build on the work of the 2021 National Adoption Strategy and continue modernising adoption. This is an area that will need continued support. We await a response to the Public Law Working Group consultation which covered the following issues and had the possibility of further driving change in these areas: 

  • Adoption and contact 
  • Access to records 
  • Policy and practice 
  • Adoption with an international element 
  • Adoption by consent 

Statutory guidance on Promoting the health and welfare of looked-after children was also being considered in the previous term. This guidance is nearly 10 years old and needs updating. We want this  work to continue so that all workers and agencies can have more up to date guidance about this important area. 


Finally, the previous Government were planning on introducing a duty to make reporting child sex offences mandatory. This would involve a legal requirement for people engaging in 'relevant activity' in England to report child sexual abuse to the police or local authority when they are told about it by a child, the person who has carried out the abuse, or if they witnessed the abuse happening. 

This was planned to be taken forward through the Criminal Justice Bill but because the election was called, the time for this to be made into law ran out. We do not know whether the new Government will take this forward, but we will make sure to keep our members informed of any developments. 

So what next?  

A change in Government brings both opportunities and challenges to our sector. CoramBAAF welcomes some of the commitments made in Labour's manifesto and we look forward to working with the new administration. But, we must also make sure that relevant and ongoing work isn't forgotten or consigned to a drawer in Whitehall.  

Policies such as the national kinship care strategy, developments in adoption practice, challenges in foster carer recruitment and retention, alongside updating crucial guidance, need continued and urgent attention. We will be keeping you informed of developments as they happen through our updates and newsletters

CoramBAAF will be working, with you – our members - to advocate on your behalf to decision makers. Collectively we can make a difference. We will also be making it very clear that substantial increased investment and attention is needed to better support children in kinship care, foster care and adoption.  

James Bury, Head of Policy, Research and Development, CoramBAAF.