Former foster children can often be prevented from contacting their carers, a charity has claimed.
A new report from The Fostering Network collected the opinions of 179 children who had been through foster care. Eighty-one per cent of respondents believed that it was important to stay in touch with their carer even after they have left the system.
However, as many as 55 per cent of the children claimed social workers did not support the idea of them continuing to talk to former carers. More than a quarter – 29 per cent – said they wanted to keep in touch but had not been able to.
The charity also surveyed 1,106 foster carers. Almost a third of them – 32 per cent – said they had been actively prevented from maintaining contact with a child who used to be in their care. Thirty per cent also claimed their fostering service had not been supportive of their attempts to stay in touch.
One of the adult respondents said foster carers were “expected to act as if these young people had never been here”.
Fostering Network campaigns manager Vicki Swain said that “cutting off the relationship between the child and their foster carer is damaging”. More should be done to encourage contact between them, she claimed.
If the government wanted happy, well-adjusted young people to come out of the foster care system, it must “support them in maintaining the relationships that bring them security, happiness, and the freedom to express themselves”, Ms Swain insisted.
The charity called for the introduction of official guidance and regulations designed to ensure that former foster children can stay in touch with their carers. They urged the public to write to their MPs to express support.
Read The Fostering Network’s full report here.
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