"The 'Fostering Aspirations' report said there had been a 16 per cent increase in the number of children in a foster placement between 2006 and 2011. At the same time, the needs of children in foster care were becoming more varied and more challenging. Combined with a shortage of carers, this has led to a situation where there are limited foster placements available. This in turn means that children can be placed with carers inadequately qualified to help them or a long away from their birth family if contact is allowed. In one case quoted in the report, a child from London was being fostered in Cornwall.
"The Policy Exchange also noted that local authorities were still reticent to turn to private and third sector providers of fostering services, mainly because councils have a conflict of interests – being both provider and commissioner of fostering services. Councils will often opt for 'in-house provision' when non-local authority providers could deliver better outcomes for children."
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