LOCKDOWN 3: JANUARY 2021
WillisPalmer is continuing to provide our expert social work and psychological services during lockdown. We are utilising technology alongside safe working practices in line with government guidance to enable us to continue supporting vulnerable children and families.

Call 01206 878178 to discuss your requirements.
Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Ofsted: Matching children in care and foster carers needs to improve

More needs to be done in matching children in care to foster carers, research by Ofsted has found.

While recruiting enough foster carers to meet demand is vital, Ofsted’s study highlights the importance of getting foster matches right for children’s futures.

Yvette Stanley, Ofsted’s National Director for Social Care, said: “Successful matches aren’t down to chance. Our research shows that chemistry isn’t always about luck – it’s something that can be developed through strong practice. When a match is built on solid foundations, it has more chance of succeeding and giving children the love, stability and future that they deserve.

“Above all, children need to feel as though they have a say in what is happening to them. Going to live with people are who are often complete strangers is an enormous step for any child. Their needs and wishes should – as much as possible – be at the heart of decision-making,” she added.

One of the most significant challenges when it comes to getting matches right is the shortage of foster carers, the report shows. This is even more apparent when finding suitable foster homes for groups of siblings, disabled children and teenagers. Local authorities and fostering agencies often have a limited choice, balancing what is ideal for a child with what is available.

Ofsted’s research shows that getting foster matches right, as well as keeping foster carers in the system is vitally important. When matches fail, children who have already faced trauma and disruption in their lives, are caused further distress. Placement breakdowns can also lead to foster carers taking a break or deciding to stop fostering altogether.

While researchers saw examples of good work to match children with the right foster carers, there was little in the way of wider organisational learning from successful matches.

Chemistry lies at the heart of a good match, but researchers found that this isn’t down to luck. This ‘magic’ can be built through good practice that encourages relationships to flourish.

The report highlights that the best matches happen when a child’s individual needs, as well as the skills and experience of foster carers, are properly understood. Taking children’s wishes into account and making them feel part of the process is vital. While matches are often made in emergencies, there is more that professionals can do to give placements the best chance of success.

Recommendations in the report to improve recruitment and create successful matches includes:

Ensuring children are heard

Children told researchers that they don’t always feel involved in decisions and plans about where they are going to live. When they can say what they want, they don’t always believe that their views make a difference to what happens.

Good information sharing

Providing children with the information they need about potential carers is vital, as is making sure that foster carers know everything that they need to know about a child. The best referrals give full and balanced descriptions of children and represent their wishes and feelings.

Involving birth families and previous carers

Professionals recognised that more could be done to involve birth families in matching decisions. Similarly, more could be done to involve previous foster carers and to support their lasting relationships with children.

Recognising foster carers as professionals

Foster carers who felt empowered and confident in their role as part of a wider professional team are typically more likely to ask for additional information about children than carers who feel undervalued or less confident.

Matching in foster care: making good decisions for children in care and care leavers



Make an enquiry

A multi-disciplinary organisation providing independent, high quality social work and psychological services. Contact us with your requirements and speak to a member of our team who will help you today.
Make an Enquiry

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

Former children’s commissioner raises concerns over children in secure settings

04/03/2021

Former children’s commissioner Anne Longfield has raised alarm bells about the treatment of children and young people in secure settings.

Ms Longfield, who stepped down from her role this month, has written to Vicky Ford MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, Lucy Frazer QC MP, Minister of State, Ministry of Justice [...]

Read Full Story

Homeless young people held back from moving to independent living

03/03/2021

Seventy per cent of homeless young people were ready to move on from supported accommodation and into independent living but remained in beds in hotels for rough sleepers, research has found.

The YMCA highlighted that the government has prioritised beds for rough sleepers during the recent crisis which the charity supports. However, young people who feel [...]

Read Full Story

Children’s social care review officially launches

01/03/2021

The independent review of children’s social care has officially launched after the government announced it would be set up back in January.

The anticipated independent review of children’s social care designed to improve the lives of the most vulnerable children in England was launched by education secretary Gavin Williamson in January. Mr Williamson also announced [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today
Delivering a diverse, reliable range of services to children and their families across the UK
D1, Parkside, Knowledge Gateway, Nesfield Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 3ZL
Contact Us

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

closechevron-downbars linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram