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.