Social workers will only be required to visit children in long-term foster placements at least once every six months, under plans announced by the government.
Currently visits must take place at least once every three months, but the Department for Education now intends to extend the time limit to six months for foster arrangements that have been in place for a year or more.
The plan is part of a suite of changes to long-term fostering set out in the DfE’s response to its consultation on improving permanence for looked-after children.
In the response, the DfE said that extending the maximum time between visits will enable placements to more effectively mirror family life as children “may find ongoing visits intrusive or unnecessary”.
The decision to press ahead with the change comes despite only 52% of responses to the consultation backing the idea of allowing more time to pass between visits.
Opponents of the proposal, which included most of the young people consulted by the Who Cares? Trust, raised concerns about the impact fewer social worker visits could have on children’s safety and placement stability.