A description and analysis of multi-sectoral fostering practice in the United Kingdom

Clive Sellick, Darren Howell

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Foster care is the preferred placement option for children and young people in the public care system in Britain. In recent years, fostering has been the subject of extensive policy and research review and its practice and services have been widely examined. Although still provided principally within the public, local authority sector, there has been a significant growth in the use of independent fostering agencies and a steady use of the fostering services of established voluntary child-care organizations. This paper reports a recent review of innovative fostering practice in all sectors across the four countries of the UK, which was commissioned by the Social Care Institute for Excellence. All British fostering agencies were invited to submit examples of what they considered to be innovative or effective in respect of six main categories: foster carer recruitment and training; retention and job satisfaction; placement provision; fostering children with complex needs; service provision; and user evaluation. These were examined in the light of relevant research knowledge to determine the extent of ‘research-mindedness’ amongst fostering agencies. The authors conclude with a critique of four key factors which are impacting upon contemporary fostering practice in Britain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-499
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004

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