Towards a mixed economy of foster care provision

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Foster care in the UK, especially England, has developed a broad base of service delivery. No longer an almost exclusively public sector activity, foster placements and related therapeutic and educational services are increasingly located in the non-governmental sector and delivered by independent fostering providers (IFPs). As this sector has grown, so too have contracting arrangements between IFPs and local authority purchasers, most of whom have faced considerable difficulties in recruiting and retaining sufficient numbers of foster carers for their looked after children. With the strengthening policy shift towards commissioning, different contracting models are emerging. These are described with reference both to recent studies and a broader critique of relevant legal, policy, ideological and managerial developments in order to speculate about the future of a mixed economy of foster care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-40
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Work and Social Sciences Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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