EIGHT LEADING charities joined forces to conduct an inquiry into what works best in achieving permanence - including stability and a positive sense of identity and belonging - for children in care and on the edge of care.
The report’s findings conclude that Government needs to rethink care and calls for decisions and support to be based on need and not legal status. The Care Inquiry, found that the care system too often breaks not makes relationships for children in care. The Inquiry heard that when children move, which they still do too often, important relationships are needlessly being broken and lost, including with siblings.
The Inquiry concluded that a new approach must be taken to finding permanent homes for those children in and on the edge of care. The current Government focus on and improvements in adoption must be matched by improvements in support for children going home from care or living with relatives or foster families.
Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive of Family Rights Group commented: “The report highlights the need for different placement options including return home, kinship care, foster care and adoption and residential care to be given the same political, financial and cultural priority. The failings of the care system have long been recognised, but the Inquiry found that they are becoming increasingly urgent and require a fresh approach. The increase in poverty, unemployment and changes to the benefit system are putting additional strains on families in difficulties. This has then been compounded by public sector cuts reducing the ability of local authorities to carry out their duty of care towards vulnerable children. The number of children in the care system in England has risen since 2008 and is continuing to rise.
Robert Tapsfield, chair of the Care Inquiry steering group, said: “The work of the Inquiry left us in no doubt that the care system continues to fail too many children, and that tackling this problem is increasingly urgent and requires a fresh approach
“What has been particularly striking is that all those giving evidence to the Inquiry – children, care leavers, adoptees, social workers, adopters, foster carers, birth families, practitioners, managers and academics – spoke with one voice about the need for the system to make, protect and nurture relationships, not break them.”
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