Insisting on foster care ignores the fear and pain felt by children

Over the last 20 years the idea and practice of residential care for children and young people whose lives are in crisis has been much maligned by the media, government and social work professionals alike.

Many residential homes have closed in the last two decades and the numbers receiving this care have reduced considerably.

The dominant ideology now is that care is best provided by a family, and not just any old family, but the ideologically loaded ‘nuclear family’. Fortunately, there is now a little more enlightenment with regard to gay couples, but the format remains the same – two parents plus children. Even the word ‘care’ has fallen into disapproval, with ‘looked-after children’ having become de rigueur.

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