Following on from some recent discussions about children and carers getting back in contact with each other, we are delighted to introduce a group set up to ensure relationships between children in care and their former caregivers remains a prominent consideration in their lives.
The newly formed group Fostering Contact are dedicated to ensuring that the relationships of fostered children are put at the heart of their care. They want to ensure that children in care have the right to maintain relationships with all those who are important to them where, of course, contact is in their best interests. Central to that, is the child’s right to be involved and have a voice when it comes to decisions about contact and who is important to them in their lives. Fundamental to their principles is to work in a positive manner towards helping children and not to seek to apportion blame.
In 2013 The Care Inquiry launched its ‘Making not Breaking’ report in the House of Commons. This was commissioned by eight major UK charities including The Fostering Network, The Who Cares? Trust and Research In Practice. As part of the process, it talked extensively to children in care both past and present and in the Summary concluded:
“The weight of evidence, from all quarters, convinces us that the relationships with people who care for and about children are the golden thread in children’s lives, and that the quality of a child’s relationships is the lens through which we should view what we do and plan to do.”
What comes across throughout both the evidence to the Inquiry and its report is the importance of ALL relationships to children and that we should always be mindful to encourage and nurture those relationships.
The importance of children maintaining contacts is widely recognised throughout fostering, social work and all of the professions involved in the care of Looked After Children. Most of the time, this works well and children will often chose to have contact with a former foster carer, but occasionally there can be disagreements about whether contact should be allowed. Sadly, those links can also be broken just because we, as professionals who they rely on, fail in our duty to support the child or to listen carefully enough.
The Fostering Contact group focuses on contact issues between children and their former foster carers, but welcomes people from all areas – foster carers, social work professionals, birth families, adopters, mental health professionals, trainers, legal professionals and more. They are keen to hear any stories surrounding contact, both positive or negative. Your confidentiality will be respected and nothing you say will be passed on unless you give prior permission.
Fostering Contact are also having a meeting near Birmingham on the 10th September and all are welcome. More information can be found here