Letter: Vital facts kept from foster parents

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The Independent Online
Sir: Foster care (letters, 18, 20 November) might be more successful if the foster parents were given full and honest details about a child's past home life and present behaviour patterns.

My mother, a very experienced long-term foster carer, has repeatedly not been given vital information about the children she looks after. She has been asked to look after children who, unknown to her, have been involved in the abuse of other children, whilst also caring for children who have themselves been sexually abused. Likewise, to be asked without warning to care for a violent child is inappropriate.

Children with difficult behaviour patterns need special care, supervision and tuition. Placing them in foster homes where their carer has no chance of knowing fully what they need, why they are afraid of certain situations and so on does a disservice to the children and carers alike. If social services gave an honest background about the child, rather than omitting important details for fear of failure to place the child, placements would have a chance, at least, of lasting.