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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Children in the care of Lambeth Council Investigation Report


E.1: Introduction

1. Fostering is the provision of care in a family home for a child unable to live with their birth parents. It can take many forms, including emergency, short and long-term placements, short breaks, family and friends (kinship) care, fostering for adoption, private fostering and specialist therapeutic care.[1] A local authority placing a child with foster carers has a continuing statutory duty to safeguard and promote the child‘s welfare, in the same way as if they were in residential care.[2]

2. Although Lambeth Council’s policies were predicated on a generally accepted principle that it was better for a child to be in foster care rather than in a children’s home, Ms Annie Hudson (strategic director of children’s services from May 2016 to March 2020) told us:

By the early 1970s, approximately 35% of all children in care nationally were fostered by the late 1970s Lambeth still had relatively more children in children homes, and a lower proportion fostered, than the country as a whole. By 1985 the proportion of children in care fostered nationally, had risen to 50%, and then to 66% by 2000. Today it is approximately 75%.[3]

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