Children's minister supports family & friends care

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David Roth
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Children's minister supports family & friends care

Postby David Roth » Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:01 pm

Children's minister Tim Loughton has come out today in support of family and friends care, and in disagreement with his newly appointed adoption tsar Martin Narey.

In particular Tim Loughton disagrees with the suggestion that courts spend too much time assessing potential family and friends carers, and the comments that "kinship carers were just another branch of an essentially dysfunctional family".

This is good to see, as Martin Narey's report, followed by his apopintment as 'adoption tsar', had raised some concerns that it might indicate a shift in government attitudes towards family and friends carers, after publishing very supportive statutory guidance for local authorities earlier this year.

The article is in Community Care: http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/2011/07/13/117160/childrens-minister-rejects-key-ideas-from-his-adoption-tsar.htm

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Kate
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Re: Children's minister supports family & friends care

Postby Kate » Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:47 pm


In particular Tim Loughton disagrees with the suggestion that courts spend too much time assessing potential family and friends carers, and the comments that "kinship carers were just another branch of an essentially dysfunctional family".

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Good grief, Martin Narey said that? [V][V]

Thanks for the post and the link David, off to read the article.

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David Roth
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Re: Children's minister supports family & friends care

Postby David Roth » Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:51 pm

That's how it was reported in the article, Kate, although to be fair to Martin Narey I think he said in his report that family and friends carers could be perceived that way, not that this was necessarily his own thoughts

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Kate
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Re: Children's minister supports family & friends care

Postby Kate » Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:25 am

That's how it was reported in the article, Kate, although to be fair to Martin Narey I think he said in his report that family and friends carers could be perceived that way, not that this was necessarily his own thoughts.

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Glad to hear he didn't actually state this as his own thoughts David though it sounds as if he needs to clarify his position.

There will of course always be some extended families which are seriously dysfunctional and where as a result parents have raised children who are unable to parent properly. Adoption will then be the best solution for the children needing care. This applied to our daughter who we adopted, and who in turn proved to be essentially too damaged by her early trauma to be able to care for her own daughter (i.e. our g/d who we're bringing up)

I found this quote in your post very disturbing:

"kinship carers were just another branch of an essentially dysfunctional family".

This seems to me to suggest a blanket reason for poor parenting, ie that it always arises from having been poorly parented. It doesn't take into account the role of eg mental illness, or substance abuse, which can lead to children needing to be brought up by someone other than his/her parents. As we know here, the most loving, well-balanced and well-functioning parents can have children who turn out unable &/or unwilling to parent. The last thing decent parents need is to be branded as dysfunctional just because their children make a mess of their lives and can't or won't look after their children in turn.

fatcat
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Re: Children's minister supports family & friends care

Postby fatcat » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:49 am

i agree that it is unfair to tar all relatives and friends carers with the same brush, and i think that this czar may have been misrepresented. I think he is referring to cases where parents will throw every person that they can think of into the hat at the last minute, demanding that they are assessed. this in turn delays the final hearings and some of those children may lose the opportunity of an adoptive placement as a result.

The Public Law outline was introduced to try and minimise this, by assessing family members up front before even making the decision to go to court, therefore reducing delay for the child, so that a permanent plan could be agreed upon asap.

Family members should be ruled in or out much earlier, which is what he is getting at.

youngagain
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Re: Children's minister supports family & friends care

Postby youngagain » Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:52 pm

What he could have said was "dysfunctional local authorities"[:D]

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Re: Children's minister supports family & friends care

Postby fatcat » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:33 pm

he could have done, but that wouldn't be true either.

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David Roth
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Re: Children's minister supports family & friends care

Postby David Roth » Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:04 pm

Narey's report was published by The Times, which is unfortunately a paywall website so I can't provide a link where you would be able to read the original report. (Can anybody provide such a link?)

However, I did read the report when it was published. He stated that local authorities wasted time search for relatives in proceedings. I felt this was based in a misperception, as the evidence seeems to be that it is relatives who put themselves forward far more often than social workers seeking them out.

He also reports a concern that family and friends carers who become special guardians are just going to hand the children back to the parents once social services are no longer involved. Again, I can't think where he got the evidence for this, as all the research indicates that family and friends carers go to great lengths to keep the chldren safe from their parents once they are placed. I could not see the point of placing this in the report, as it just seemed to be based on the (unfounded) fears of some practitioners rather than any hard evidence.

There are other points where I take issue with what Martin Narey wrote in his report, so I was quite pleased to see Tim Loughton distancing himself from the assertions about family and friends carers, and stating that the report is not going to become the government's blueprint for adoption.

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Help 1870
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Re: Children's minister supports family & friends care

Postby Help 1870 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:20 pm

As much as the man unnerves me, I have to say one of his suggestions could prove very useful.

Hes suggested commissioning research into SGO's. My feeling is this could be an attempt to try and prove they breakdown and support his argument for adoption being the better choice.

Its also my understanding that kinship placements usually last longer than at least fostering placements, so I dont see why that would not apply to SGO too.

Either way, the research could be very interesting alone. Who knows how many SGO's have been granted. This could be a way of finding out if the research goes ahead.

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Robin D
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Re: Children's minister supports family & friends care

Postby Robin D » Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:39 am

In research terms it might be useful to know what the breakdown rates for the various orders are. Adoption is not a panacea. breakdown rates for adoption are about 10% for those children placed under 8 to perhaps 40% for those placed over 10. Even then, I'm not sure this is accurate as many adopters struggle on through hell, rather than admit defeat.

The short and long of it is that a disrupted early childhood is always going to increase the likelihood of a placement going wrong. Equally you can have two children with no issues brought up exactly the same way, one goes off the rails and the other doesn't so there's no easily defined cause and effect where outcomes for children are concerned.

Grandparent carer in Suffolk [:)]
Former F&F carer, foster carer, adopter and respite carer for umpteen children. Now retired and when with kids, making sure they 'go home' at the end of the day.


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