What Happens When a Child is Taken into Care
If you’re new to fostering and considering a career as a foster carer, you may be wondering what happens when a child is taken into care, the reasons why this may happen, and the process that takes place for a child or young person to end up in the care of a foster family. You may also be wondering what role an independent fostering agency (IFA) like Family Fostering Partners plays in ensuring looked after children are safeguarded and protected. Read on to for an introduction to all of the above and of course, contact us if you’d like to know more!
Reasons for a child to be taken into care
There are many situations in which social services would take a child or young person under the age of 18 into care. For this to happen, there need to be serious concerns about the wellbeing of the child. The welfare of the child is always put first in difficult situations and any decisions that are made are intended to safeguard the child.
Some of the most common reasons for a child to be removed from their birth parents include:
Abuse - this includes physical, emotional, and sexual abuse including any form of violence or bullying behaviour.
Neglect - this includes neglect of their basic care needs as well as other important needs such as educational, medical, or emotional.
Abandonment - this can include leaving a child alone for long periods of time as well as when parents completely abandon their child. Reasons for this can be drug or alcohol related issues that the parents may be facing.
Other reasons can be if a parent is suffering from a physical or mental illness that incapacitates them and there is no one else to provide care for the child. In that case, fostering may provide a temporary solution. Other times, fostering can be an option if birth parents are incarcerated and their children need care.
What is a care order?
Before a child is taken into care, social services will have done everything in their power to communicate with the birth family and offer support to the parents. Removing children from their family is always a last resort and occurs when there are no other viable options to keep the child safe.
A care order is made by the court under the Children Act of 1989. This gives the Local Authority power to make decisions about the child's welfare including their accommodation and care providers.
In rarer cases, a child can be taken into care without a care order if the parents voluntarily choose to put their child into care. This may be the case if parents decide that they cannot or do not want to look after the child any longer or they feel it is in the child’s best interest.
Local authorities and IFAs
Initially, the child will be under the supervision of the Local Authority who will assess the child’s individual situation and determine what type of foster care will best suit their needs. The Local Authority will have its own group of approved foster carers and will first look to those to find a suitable placement for the child. However, the demand for foster homes often greatly outweighs the number of carers Local Authorities have available. This is where IFAs like Family Fostering Partners step in! We work with Local Authorities to help meet the constant demand for foster homes to ensure every child is guaranteed a safe and secure place to live. We work closely with Local Authorities to ensure the “matches” we make are effective and meet the child’s needs.
The role of a foster parent
As a foster parent with Family Fostering Partners, our social workers will work closely with you to ensure the child/children who come to stay with you are a good match for your skills and personality.
It is your responsibility as a foster parent to provide the child or young person with a safe family home, as you would any child! The purpose of foster care is to provide stability, security, love, and support to a vulnerable child. You will be responsible for bettering the child’s life and giving them the tools they need to grow and develop, be it for a short placement or long!
Can you help?
If you’re interested in doing something amazing and helping vulnerable children and young people in your community to build happier lives, then we’d love to hear from you! To find out more about fostering, please get in touch with us on 03300 948816.