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New Research Challenges Stereotypes Children Care Says North West Foster

Thursday, 01 July 2010

The study, by independent think-tank Demos and sponsored by Barnardo's, found that social services should aim to give children stable, long-term homes as soon as possible.


Leading North West foster agency, modus, has welcomed the research, saying that it helps break down the stereotypes which get in the way of providing the best possible care to all children.


Sue Hamilton, owner and director of the Bolton-based company, said: "This research shows that children who are given stable homes perform better academically, setting them up for a more successful and stable life.


"Not only that, but this approach also costs less than making repeated attempts to keep families together, with children yo-yoing between care and dysfunctional families.


"In some ways, this is obvious to anyone who has worked in social care, but it is the type of stereotype which we believe prevents a lot of very good foster parents from applying and helping give children another chance in life."


The Demos research found that a stable experience in the care system costs a total of £354,053 to children's services, whereas an unstable seven years' experience costs £393,579.


It also found that 66 per cent of those in care for eight years or more have at least one GCSE, compared with just 20 per cent for those in care for less than a year.


Mrs Hamilton added: "At modus, our entire philosophy is built around giving young people a long-term stable environment and minimising the number of placements children experience.


"That's why we invest a lot more in training and supporting foster parents, and why the average time a child stays in our residential home, Cross Lee House, is much longer than in many other similar facilities across the UK.


"What Britain needs is a lot more research like this which breaks down the stereotypes of our industry so that more people see the truth about social care.


"We believe there are thousands of potentially fantastic foster carers out there in the North West who would be more inclined to apply to work with us if they knew the truth about the support they would get, and the impact they could have on a young person's life.


"Even then it is a big decision, but for a child in care, that decision could be the making of their lives."


There are currently almost 45,000 foster families across the UK - yet it is estimated that almost 10,000 more are needed.


Adults aged 21 or over can apply to become a foster parent with modus, regardless of background or experience. Successful applicants receive outstanding personal support, professional training and a salary.


For more information about becoming a foster carer, call modus on 01204 399514 or email modus@moduscom.org.uk.


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Notes to editors

modus was set up in 2002 to provide high quality, co-ordinated childcare services for looked-after children and young people
Through exceptional training and ongoing support, it helps families to provide environments in which young people can safely achieve their potential
modus provides foster families across the whole of North West England
modus also runs a small residential home in West Yorkshire, Cross Lee House, for up to five children who display varying degrees of emotional and behavioural difficulty