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Quarter of foster carers rarely or never keep in contact with former foster children

The Fostering Network launches campaign to help maintain foster relationships

The Fostering Network is calling on all governments of the UK to enable children and young people who move within, or out of, the care system to be able to maintain their most important relationships, following the release of their new research report.

The report, Keep Connected: Maintaining Relationships When Moving On, part of the charity's campaign of the same name, spoke to over 175 children and young people, and over 1,100 foster carers.

A survey of young people showed:

A survey of foster carers showed:

These findings are consistent with previous research conducted on attachment between foster carers and the children and young people they care for. In Foster Children: Where They Go and How They Get On (Sinclair et al, 2005), Sinclair wrote: "The bond between a foster carer and their fostered child should not be undervalued."  Sinclair followed 596 foster children and found contact with former foster carers is at least as important as birth parents. Children often spent longer with foster carers than their own parents, they had bonded with foster carers and trusted them more.

The 2011 Care Inquiry, led by The Fostering Network alongside other sector charities and research bodies, found that relationships were the golden thread that ran through care and gave children and young people the best chance of a positive future.

The Keep Connected report recommends that each of the UK governments has guidance and regulations that ensure local authorities and health and social services trusts make certain that foster carers who have developed a good relationship with children are enabled to support them as they move home, move to a permanent placement, or move into and through the leaving care process. The report also recommends that when and where local authorities, health and social services trusts and independent fostering providers are inspected, proper attention should be paid by the inspectors as to how these relationships are being built and supported for children and young people in care.