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Foster families denied crucial information

foster carer helping foster child

Foster families put at risk?

A survey of foster families in England has found that councils have withheld information about children in their care. Many foster carers are not being told vital information which they need in order to care safely for their family, resulting in a large number of complaints to the local authorities.

The survey by the Fostering Network, asked foster carers if they are given all the information they need to provide safe care for placements. Only 9% replied “always”, and 32% said “mostly”. These results meant the Fostering Network are now calling on local authorities across England, to provide foster carers with complete and thorough information about the child who is being looked after.

Foster families said they were denied vital details about the child, such as self-harm history, major behaviour problems, and in some cases – false allegations being made about members of fostering families. It’s believed that in some situations, social workers are reluctant to share certain information which might lessen the chance of placing a child in foster care.

Mrs Sanders, the charity’s director of public affairs said:

This survey makes clear that information is not shared as a matter of course with foster carers and we know how damaging this can be to their families and fostered children.

This is not acceptable. Whether by failure to inform, or a limited availability, a lack of information inhibits the abilities of the foster carers to meet the needs of, and to provide appropriate care for, a child

“This means the foster carers, their families and the children in their care are being put at risk.”


The survey has been responded to by Ofsted, leading their inspectors to look carefully at the processes carried out by fostering agencies and make sure they are of an acceptable standard.

Fostering at risk

The survey’s findings suggests that many foster carers and their families have had to deal with unexpected behaviours and higher levels of risk from some children who might have been less difficult to manage if they had been better informed about the children.

Foster carers are now aware that the issue of lack of information from social workers about placements is not an uncommon problem and the withholding of information, whatever the motive, risks foster carers losing trust in the fostering system and makes attracting new foster carers even more difficult.

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