CFAB have worked with various Members of Parliament in posing Written Parliamentary Questions (WPQs) to the Department of Education seeking further accountability and transparency in recording the numbers and outcomes for Looked After Children placed with kinship carers abroad. In August 2021, on account of a WPQ submitted
for us by Tulip Siddiq MP, we were able to confirm by the then Minister for Children Vicky Ford, that the Department does not measure outcomes for Looked After Children abroad as they do for those UK-based. Although dissatisfied by her response, we received acknowledgement for the first time that local authorities must not use lack of jurisdiction as an excuse not to ensure the well-being of a child in a placement overseas.
In September and October 2021, we worked with Andrew Gwynne MP on a WPQ
to the Department of Education, if they had considered researching the outcomes for children placed overseas. Will Quince, the then Minister for Children, responded that no assessment in this area had been made. This research is vital to ensure children placed with family overseas are safe and given the same support as children placed with family in England. We worked on a subsequent WPQ
seeking a rationale for the Department of Education’s not measuring long-term outcomes of children placed across borders and if they are willing to reconsider conducting research into long-term outcomes. Although he did not commit to recording any further data on Looked After Children placed overseas, he did acknowledge the need for significant reset of the current care system.
In October 2022, we worked with Helen Hayes MP
– the Shadow Children and Early Years Minster – and Rachael Maskell MP
on WPQs. They asked multiple questions about the number of special guardians and foster carers in receipt of financial allowance for children overseas from an English local authority in 2021. There is inconsistent data on the number of children placed overseas and knowing the number of children indirectly receiving local authority payments overseas would begin help fill that gap. Kelly Tolhurst, the Minster for Children and Schools, responded saying “the department does not hold data on the number of looked after children who have been placed overseas” either on kinship foster placement or special guardianship order allowances. While we are disappointed with the lack of data, gaining more clarity on what data the Department for Education holds is useful and we will continue to campaign for greater data collection on overseas placements from the Department.
We will be working with Mr Gwynne, Ms Siddiq, Ms Hayes and Ms Maskell’s offices to continue to highlight that lack of care for and support of children in multinational families as part of our Safe, Secure and Thriving campaign. CFAB have worked with various Members of Parliament in posing Written Parliamentary Questions (WPQs) to the Department of Education seeking further accountability and transparency in recording the numbers and outcomes for Looked After Children placed with kinship carers abroad.