Foster Care: Safety
Education and Skills
John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will review the guidance on how many babies each foster (a) carer and (b) household is permitted to look after with a view to making an assessment of whether the safety of such infants is at increased risk in foster households caring for multiple infants and babies.
Parmjit Dhanda (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Education and Skills; Gloucester, Labour)
The Children Act 1989 does not allow a carer to foster more than three children unless the children concerned are siblings or an exemption has been made by the local authority in whose area the carer lives. This "usual fostering limit" applies regardless of the child's age. Volume 3 of the statutory guidance which accompanies the Act highlights the number of children who may be placed as an important factor in placement decisions. The guidance stresses the importance of considering the interests of each child, in cases where more than one child is to be placed, as well as the needs of the carer's own children.
The Government are committed to reviewing the statutory guidance and this review will need to take account of issues arising from the recent Care Matters Green Paper. However, detailed decisions about the content of the revised guidance have not yet been taken.