At the end of October, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) called for a full re-examination of the care system. They released a report detailing the areas that needed addressing and some of the themes were particularly relevant to those in the fostering arena.
The paper highlighted that in our present economy of diminishing resources, local authorities are seeking out ways of keeping the present system running effectively by re-prioritising and re-designing the services they offer, including early intervention to further reduce pressure on an already overloaded care system.
The full paper can be seen here http://www.adcs.org.uk/download/position-statements/2012/ADCS%20Position%20Statement%20What%20is%20care%20for.pdf
But the statement that stands out the most for me is this one: We believe that aspects of our current system of care are outmoded. Care must be built around the individual needs of each child and young person. We need a new construct of ‘care’ that is guided by evidence and designed, commissioned and delivered to realise, right placement, at the right time, for every child.
The paper goes on to address how the association intend to work with the government to ensure that a new approach is taken in order to ensure our children’s needs will be met in the future. A more targeted look at individual cases is what has been needed for a long time and this report goes some way to addressing this. It also wants to tackle the issue of permanency in fostering, and not just in adoption.
Long term, stable placements have long proved to be successful when preparing a young person for adulthood and the government seem to be working towards enabling this to be more the norm, which is excellent news.
It is no longer enough for us to be satisfied that when a child comes into the care system, he or she will be placed with a suitable family and that is enough. Children aren’t all the same, their needs are very unique to each child and it is right that this should be broken down into all of the areas for concern and then dealt with.
As a foster carer and as someone who wants the best for all of our children, I welcome this new strategy and look forward to a new way of working. A way that ensures we leave no stone unturned when assessing what resources should be made available for children in care.