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The Fostering Network is calling for an amendment to clause 8 of The Children and Social Work Bill, to ensure that long-term fostering is on an equal footing with adoption and special guardianship orders when it comes to possible permanence options for children in care.​​

Clause 8 of the Children and Social Work Bill expands the information that courts must have in the care plan when deciding whether to make a care order for a child. 

Courts must currently consider the local authority’s long-term plan for the upbringing of a child set out in the “permanence provisions” of the care plan. The clause will mean that, going forward, courts will have to take into account the impact on the child of any harm that they have suffered, the child’s needs, and how the care plan meets those needs now and in the future. It is anticipated that, by ensuring better information is at the forefront of decision-makers’ minds, the right placement - the one that is most likely to meet a child’s needs throughout their childhood - is pursued from the outset.

However, while the clause specifically mentions adoption as a permanence option, it does not explicitly include long-term foster care which will, for the majority of children, be the best possible permanence option. We are calling for an amendment to the clause to include long-term fostering, for which there is now a legal definition.

Please write a letter to your MP asking them to support the amendment to clause 8. Your letter should be short, but include the following:

  • you welcome the Children and Social Work Bill
  • you are concerned that the Bill does not give equality to all permanence options
  • in particular, clause 8 of the Bill appears to give priority to adoption as a permanence option
  • ask your MP to support the amendment to clause 8 which will explicitly mention long-term fostering as a permanence option

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