Long Term Fostering
Long term fostering is the only option left for some children, whose adoption or kinship placements have broken down.The children placed are those whose birth family attachments are too complex, or whose difficulties are too testing to be manged by carers without ongoing support. Long term foster carers can be recruited specifically for long term solo placements, unless they double up when a sibling may be placed as well.
In today’s fostering environment with the cuts and financially strapped Local Authorities, Long Term Placements are not as common as they once were. There a lots of placements which have evolved from emergency or short term placements into what are effectively Long Term placements, without the formal recognition of permanency.
Long Term Funding
In some cases children have been living with the same foster carers for three or four years and the planning around the placement is still uncertain due to the Local Authorities inability to confirm the placement is a Long term placement. Some Local Authorities will not commit the large sums of money it takes to confirm a placement is a long term placement in the private sector, meaning when some children are asking ‘Can I stay in this placement until I leave care’? The response by the foster carers has to be ‘I don’t Know’ as the Long Term funding is not agreed.
Foster Children & Anxieties
As one can imagine for young person who is stable with a foster family for a considerable time and the reoccurring question is about permanency, it can be very difficult for the young person to not feel insecure about their future with a particular family. These long term insecurities and anxieties can impact negatively on a young persons development, education and behaviour.
Local Authorities and children’s services need to do more with regards to these ongoing issues, but the issues are not getting better, but worse as the government continues to cut budgets and put further pressure on services in crisis.
For a research report that focuses on Long Term fostering and its implications for children and young people please go the Fostering Network Research