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Care system overemphasises risk avoidance

The Fostering  Network has claimed that the current care system places too much emphasis on avoiding risk, and as a result is preventing foster carers from helping children in their care to have a full experience of family life.

“Ensuring fostered children are safe is vitally important, but the pendulum has swung too far," said Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network. "Now the system is too risk averse, meaning foster carers worry about whether it is safe to hug a child, encourage them to climb trees or allow them to use social media like their friends.”

He went on to say: “While caring for fostered children brings many challenges, the current system is overly protective, and stops foster carers using their skills and professional judgement when making decisions about children’s day-to-day care.”

The Fostering Network is calling for a new approach, with a shift away from restrictive policies and blanket bans being imposed by children’s services to a system where all those who work with fostered children are encouraged and supported to take a more flexible and sensible approach to risk.

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