We promise to improve care for children, but we demonstrate that we don’t really mean it

Sometimes, the news is good. In Dr Carol Coulter’s latest report from the Child Care Law Reporting Project, the case of a very bright and very angry little boy is described. He was in a foster care placement with his younger brother, but the placement was breaking down, because he was so difficult to manage.

The boys fought constantly and no foster carer could be found to take the two of them. Yet everyone acknowledged the importance of maintaining the sibling bond for children who had already lost so much.

The boys were doing well at school. An educational psychologist explained that the boys were developmentally about three years behind their peers. They behaved like pre-school children, and would present a challenge to even the most experienced foster carer.

They have two half-siblings who are getting on well who are in the care of a close relative, but she said that while it broke her heart, she could not take the younger two because her house was too small.

The judge saw a solution. An extension should be built to accommodate the boys. The Child and Family Agency (CFA) agreed, so all four siblings will be looked after by the relative and her husband.

It’s a sane, humane solution taken by a judge in a rural town, and acceded to by the CFA.

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