New contract launched to standardise care for fostered children placed in independent sector
Children in care are to benefit from a new contract between local authorities and independent fostering providers (IFPs), which outlines expected levels of care for fostered children. The National Fostering Contract, to be launched on Wednesday 19 November, aims to standardise care for all children looked after by foster carers working for IFPs.
The contract, which can be used by all local authorities in England, has been developed by the Fostering Network and other organisations on behalf of the Department for Children Schools and Families. It makes provision for monitoring a child’s progress against the five outcomes outlined in Every Child Matters, and allows for assessment of the effectiveness of policies and administration relating to the placement.
Brendan Clark, from the commissioning support unit at the DCSF, will be launching the contract at an event in London organised by the Fostering Network and the UK joint forum of IFPs. Robert Tapsfield, the Fostering Network’s chief executive, will also be speaking.
Phil Sutton, the Fostering Network’s IFP development worker, said: "The launch of this contract is a welcome development for both local authorities and IFPs. Until now there have been different contracts used in different ways by different local authorities. If all local authorities use this contract – and the Fostering Network would encourage them to do so – there is huge scope for monitoring and assessing how well local authorities and IFPs work together in the best interests of the children they look after."
This is the third in a suite of contracts developed by the DCSF. Contracts for placements in independent special schools and residential children’s homes are already in use.