The Chief Executive of campaigning charity the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) has released her views on statements made by the three main parties as they campaign in the general election.
Caroline Selkirk assessed key statements made by the Labour Party, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats in relation to children in care.
BAAF is “delighted”, she says, by Labour’s pledge to increase support for ‘kinship care’, in which children in need are looked after by extended family members. The chief executive calls on other parties to match this, claiming that:
“Kinship care is currently the Cinderella care option – kinship carers are not eligible for the same support as adopters or foster carers, and they are also penalised by the benefits system.”
Turning to a Conservative pledge to introduce regional adoption agencies, Selkirk believes this would be a “major change” and that “greater clarity” is needed on the proposal.
However, she does agree that there are potential benefits for vulnerable children when “local authorities work co-operatively, together with Voluntary Adoption Agencies in their region, to identify suitable matches for children in their care.”
The Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, want to provide better training and support for foster carers, with a new focus on mental health included in the scheme.
This idea is welcomed by Selkirk, who says it will be “essential to the development of foster care.”
A firm focus on driving best practice in the sector would, however, be “a further step in the right direction”.
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