BAAF (British Association for Adoption and Fostering) explain why it is involved in the Care Inquiry
For more than 30 years BAAF has campaigned for better outcomes for children in care. And for the same amount of time through our advice lines, development work and projects, family finding services, publications, training and consultancy we have advised and supported all those working with and caring for children in care.
That is why we are taking part in The Care Inquiry. It is a timely and important opportunity to consider how our care system is working for children in care (and for those on the edge of care). It is a chance to think together about recent trends, current challenges and opportunities and future strategy.
The Inquiry has a vital focus on the achievement of stability and a positive sense of identity and belonging for children in care and for those raised by family members as an alternative to care. It has the potential to make a significant contribution to our collective understanding of these issues, to build on recent, welcome reforms and to inform future policy development.
BAAF believes that every child has a right to loving and secure family relationships. We believe that secure attachments to carers are essential to children’s mental health and psychological development. We believe that every effort should be made to enable children to live in their own birth families and kinship network, providing that this is consistent with the child’s welfare. We believe that where it is not in the best interests of children to live within their family of origin, an alternative family should be found which can provide continuous care, stability and life-long commitment. And we believe that children have a right to have their needs understood, assessed and reviewed so that where it is necessary for them to live away from home, their placements can be planned and their needs met.
These are the core beliefs that we will be taking into The Care Inquiry along with our extensive knowledge of research, practice and innovation in adoption, fostering and wider child care. We stand ready to contribute to the Inquiry in any way we can.
For BAAF, The Care Inquiry is about bringing together and sharing knowledge and expertise. It is not about individuals or organisations but more about what we can learn from one another. It is about evidence. It is about debate. Fundamentally, it is about children.
By David Holmes, chief executive of BAAF.