Coram which was invited to contribute to the inquiry, emphasised the importance of long term, on-going support being available for looked-after and adopted children.
This was informed by Coram’s unique position as the birthplace of children’s social care, as leaders in adoption and pioneers of the National Centre for Early Permanence.
The report, published by a group of eight children’s charities, calls for the care system to better address and meet the needs of vulnerable children, and for them to have ‘permanence’, which it defines as ‘security, stability, love and a strong sense of identity and belonging’.
Coram, which has numerous local authority partnerships, supports the report’s calls for the needs of the individual children to be addressed and acted upon with continuity across services.
Through working in partnerships with local authority adoption teams, which include Harrow and Kent, Coram works to prioritise children’s best chance of developing long-term relationships and securing their entitlement to permanence in where they live and who their care givers are.
Carol Homden, Coram’s Chief Executive said:
Coram is the birthplace of social care, and today we still offer a lifetime of support to vulnerable children.
“We know from nearly 275 years of experience that it is the day-to-day decisions being made on behalf of children that can transform their lives and offer them that thing called permanence.
“Coram supports local authorities through the challenges that they face on the ground every day, adhering to the principle of stability, no matter how complex the circumstances of the child.
“For example, when a child who is in a happy and secure foster placement gets a legal decision for adoption, our priority must be to explore the possibility of those carers becoming their new adoptive family, when this is the carers’ wish. To prioritise the assessment and approval of those carers, not to simply start looking for a new adoptive family, which will disrupt the child and create another broken attachment in their journey through care.
“This is the principle of permanence.
“It is when, in concurrent planning, as well as working with a child’s foster carers, we also support their birth family and ensure they have regular contact with them, to support that possibility.
“For some children, the best option will be long-term fostering, especially where an older child has continuing relationships with other birth family members.
“Coram, which was founded in 1739 as the UK’s first children’s charity, today finds adoptive families for children in care and providing life-long post-adoption support to them and their new families. We offer accommodation to young adults leaving the care system and support their transition into independence. We still today support the former pupils of the Foundling Hospital who we cared for as children in the 1930s and 1940s. We give children access to justice through the national centre for children’s rights, Coram Children’s Legal Centre.
“As the first corporate parent, Coram has long championed children’s chances to build sustained and loving relationships and the care inquiry reminds us that the biggest predictor of the future is the past.”