There is plenty to applaud in the eagerly awaited Independent Review of Children’s Social Care and top of list for foster carers across England has to be the recommendation that they are given full delegated parental authority as a default when a child moves in with them. Here is what some of TACT’s carers told us:
TACT London and South East carer Steven and his partner Dan foster two young people. He said: “It is fantastic news. We are the primary caregivers to our young people, so it is only right (and natural) that we are able to make relevant decisions based on their lives. Ideally, we want to promote the idea of the ‘fostering family’ and this goes towards achieving this by giving the foster family the right to make decisions without having to consult other professionals, which can make some young people feel that they are not part of the family and instead part of a system”.
TACT Yorkshire carer Carol said: “When I am asked by my foster son in front of his friends if he can go on a camp residential, I can now just say yes. Just to be able to say yes to a child’s request rather than say I will need to ask your social worker and we will have to wait for a reply will make such a difference to him and us”.
TACT London and South East carer Nicola said:” Having full delegated authority would make life so much easier. The decisions like going on holiday, applying for a passport, or even having a haircut – everyday decisions in most families, would be dealt with a lot quicker with less delay. I also think it will help the children in your care to feel more like part of the family. It’s difficult to explain to a child or young person that you need someone else’s permission to do some of the things we do regularly for your own children”.
Giving foster carers delegated authority was a key demand by TACT and the Fairer Fostering Partnership. It will mean that decisions about the child are made in the child’s home and will allow children and young people to be involved with the decision-making process.