The Department for Education (DfE) has pledged to take steps to improve conditions for looked-after children.
This came following the Consultation on Looked-after Children: Improving Permanence, which ran between September and November last year.
Proposals from the consultation included setting up a system which would allow children who wanted to remain with their foster carers to do so, the introduction of a legal definition for long-term foster carers and a requirement for local authorities to have a “return plan” in place for children leaving care.
Responses to the consultation came from various local authority fostering services, parents, foster carers and social workers. The majority supported the proposals, with 78 per cent supporting ‘permanence’ for long-term foster care and 64 per cent supporting a legal definition for carers.
Additionally, 81 per cent of respondents supported the requirement of a “return plan” before a child can leave foster care and go back to their parents.
The DfE said it was “absolutely clear that there should be a robust assessment of the parents’ capacity to care safely for a child returning home”. However, they added that, despite the strong support, they were “not convinced that introducing a new requirement for a specific ‘return plan’ is necessary”.
The Department claimed that the majority of the proposals would be taken forward, as part of the government’s “continued commitment to improving care for looked-after children”.
The full breakdown of the consultation responses can be found here.