Call for more training to prevent children running away from care
The Fostering Network is calling for more investment in training for foster carers to ensure that they understand how best to respond if a child may, or has, run away.
The call follows the publication of today’s report from the Joint Inquiry into Children Who Go Missing from Care. The report, which focuses on the care system in England, emphasises the importance of proper training for carers, and the need for better coordinated services to help prevent children going missing, and to respond when they do.
While running away tends to be a far greater problem for children in residential care than those in foster care, the vast majority of looked-after children are fostered and this is an issue that many foster carers will face at some stage in their career.
A survey of members of the Fostering Network, which provided the basis for the evidence the charity gave to the inquiry in May, worryingly revealed that over 50 per cent of foster carers said they had not received any specific training on the issue despite the vast majority (87 per cent) having experienced children going missing.
Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network said: “Foster carers worry enormously about children who go missing and this can be very hard, especially when they do not feel well supported or trained. For foster carers it can mean late nights, waiting for the police or the child who is missing, worrying about them, and feeling powerless to prevent them from running away again.
“Additional investment in training for the foster care workforce really is essential to ensure that they are well placed to handle the issue; we are keen to see this addressed as a matter of urgency.”