Thank you for contacting me about the placement of children in foster care.
Children in care are among the most vulnerable in our society, and face unique challenges when growing up and becoming adults. I am encouraged that the Department for Education is committed to ensuring these children receive the best possible care that enables them to thrive as children and adults.
The arrangement of foster care placements is the duty of local authorities. While councils have to consider the ethnicity and religion of children when placing them in care, it is right that they approach this on a case by case basis. When placing children in foster care the guidance is clear that the child’s welfare, safety and needs are at the centre of their care.
I am encouraged that the National Fostering Stocktake looked at the challenges and issues facing the foster care system in England. Part of this review looked at the recruitment and retention of foster carers to ensure the right foster carers are in the right places, and explored how to ensure foster carers have the support and skills they need to meet the needs of the children in their care. In its response, the Department for Education (DfE) said it will help councils and fostering agencies to work together to recruit more foster parents and to think more creatively about who can foster.
I am pleased that the DfE are also, amongst other things, developing the ‘fostering trailblazers’ concept focusing on how best to identify, evaluate and share examples of best practise. They have also worked with the Fostering Network to strengthen the Foster Carer Charter and have extended their contract with Fosterline so that current and prospective foster parents can continue accessing free independent advice and support.