Safe, Secure and Thriving Campaign


Safe, Secure and Thriving Campaign

Why did we choose this campaign?

In 2018, CFAB undertook research to understand the challenges and best practices of international kinship care. When there was a positive assessment of a potential family carer, we found that the placement rate was high. This is encouraging as it means children can remain within their families, retaining a strong sense of belonging and identity.

However, we also uncovered significant risks as local authorities have a great discrepancy in post-placement practice when placing children with family across borders. Some offer continuing support to carers abroad, some make no further check on a child once placed, some even refuse responsibility for the child if the placement breaks down and the child returns to the UK.  We also found some placements occurred even when a carer had a negative assessment. Almost all local authorities are unclear on their actual legal obligation to a child once it leaves their care and is placed in the care of someone in another country.

In light of this, we launched our ‘Out of Sight, on Our Mind’ campaign in 2019 and, in 2020, published an International Kinship Care guide to provide a good practice guide for professionals placing children from local authority care with family members abroad.

However, with much more still to be done to ensure that children are protected in their international placements, we are now launching our new campaign: ‘Safe, Secure and Thriving’.

Without the proper monitoring and guidance in place, children can be put at risk of neglect, abuse, exploitation, or forced to take dangerous journeys back to the UK, where the local authority may refuse responsibility for them. Therefore we are raising awareness about the need for more accountability in the system by publishing and analysing the numbers of children being placed across borders and ensuring post placement planning and support. We want to ensure that no child is put at risk following a placement breakdown – unsupported both by the UK and their new country of residence.

What change do we seek?

We want to ensure that all children placed with families across borders can be Safe, Secure and Thriving in their new home. We believe all statutory agents should be supported in making reasonable efforts to ensure the safe transition of a child from one home to another. This support exists for a child transitioning within this country, and it exists for a child adopted from England to another country. So it must also exist for vulnerable children leaving a home in the UK to join family overseas. 

We want to see the following changes:

  • The Department for Education to publish data on the number of children placed overseas from the England and to include outcomes for overseas kinship placements.
  • To ensure support for overseas kinship placements is on par with what a child would experience in England.
  • That a high-quality contingency plan, including provision in the case of a placement breakdown, is written for all children before they are placed overseas.

Lord Laming’s support for the campaign

Children and Families Across Borders is delighted that Lord Laming is supporting our Safe, Secure and Thriving Campaign. We were lucky enough to record a short video with him explaining the issues and CFAB’s recommendations.

What can you do to support us?

  • Tweet or post about our campaign using the hashtag #SafeSecureThriving @CFABUK
  • Tweet your local MP, councillor and anyone you think can help spread the word with a link to this webpage.

Write to your local MP using the letter template available to download below, personalising it with you own information and send it though WriteToThem. Please share any response you receive with us.

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