26 January 2017: News round-up:
REFORMS BEING introduced to family courts mean that fathers will no longer have contact with a child where there is evidence of domestic abuse that would put the child or mother at risk, reports the Guardian. The reforms follow campaigning by the charity Women’s Aid, which identified that 19 children have been killed in the last 10 years by their violent fathers after being given contact with them by judges. Meanwhile Rob Keane writes in Community Care of his experience of working with perpetrators of domestic violence under Doncaster’s Growing Futures programme. “Perpetrators are really the source of the problem. If you’re not turning that tap off – if you’re only working with partners and children – it’s much less likely to stop,” he says. “Growing Futures is a really innovative new model and I hope it will be emulated.”
THE EXPERIENCES of foster carer and blogger Suddenly Mummy prompted general Twitter outrage after she was told at the last moment she was no longer required to care for a newborn baby. In her blog she details the preparations she made over several days including hospital visits – preparations she continued to make, unaware that a decision had been taken that that the baby was to go elsewhere. “It’s not the first time I have expected children that have not arrived, but this time I feel as though I have been led along and used,” she writes. “Not for the first time I am reminded that, for some, foster carers are basically resources, like toasters. They come out of the cupboard when you need them, and once they’ve done what you wanted, you can forget about them.”
THERAPEUTIC PARENTING specialist Sarah Naish told BBC Radio Gloucestershire that the problem of compassion fatigue simply isn’t publicised because of the problems it can present for fostering recruitment. “The irony is that in our fostering agency, because we were aware of compassion fatigue and we met it head on – and we put in strategies right up front to support carers – we did not lose foster carers, we did not have burnout and we did not lose children,”she said. “Central government just needs to tackle it, be brave and put in the training and support which is so needed for carers and social workers.”
CHILDREN IN care in Africa, Asia and Latin America are more likely to be in residential settings than formal family-based fostering situations according to a report by CELCIS, the centre for excellence for looked after children in Scotland. But most of the children are looked after in informal family arrangements – and, unlike in the UK, there is limited acceptability in caring for the child of a stranger, particularly in Africa and Asia. The report also warned that because most formal care was by private institutions there was limited potential for the state to improve outcomes for looked after children. And although legislation was in place to protect children, enforcement of laws was simply failing. The report was produced for the European Commission in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages International.
AND FINALLY PhD student Vania Pinto at Oxford University’s Rees Centre is seeking independent fostering agencies to support her research on how foster carer characteristics influence outcomes for children in care.
Photo by Volkan Olmez