Review of foster care

Young girl being 'handed over' to foster carer

The Department of Education's review of foster care in England, conducted by Sir Martin Narey and Mark Owers, was published on 6 February 2018 and can be found here.

The report's 36 recommendations include guaranteeing foster carers are supported and a part of the decision-making process. However, the report also recommends that the role of Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) be dispensed with. Serious concerns have been raised about this across the sector, with Nagalro (the Professional Association for Children's Guardians, Family Court Advisers and Independent Social Workers) stating that they "strongly believe that such a move would put vulnerable children at real risk" and highlighting that "the task of the IRO is to be the voice of children who cannot speak out for themselves".

Action for Children has noted "much that is good" in the report, but share the concerns laid out above, as well as adding that "there is no question we should aim for permanence in the care of our children but permanence is not a byword for adoption ... It should not be our main ambition that foster carers adopt or become special guardians. What matters in every case is the best outcome for the child".

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