Placements and Destinations
Our second chapter concentrated on the basic characteristics of the children and the circumstances and purposes surrounding the placement. The present one takes up the story from the time the child was placed. We give some basic details on the placement and on where we found the children a year later and we discuss how far these outcomes were expected, wanted and planned.
The chapter is particularly concerned with how far the foster care system provides its children with a permanent base. We also look at three related topics–the degree to which children are adopted by their carers or by others, the degree to which carers stayed in touch with children after they had left, and the degree to which some young people stayed on with their carers after the age of 18 when they were officially out of the care system. We place these outcomes in the context of what the carers and children told us they expected and wanted.
Foster care is family care with a difference. Members of a family generally feel they have right to be there. By contrast, foster children are with carers in a sense 'on sufferance'. As we will see in the next chapter, some children were preoccupied with the insecurities that flow from this position. How far did the children's lengths of stay justify these insecurities, and how far did what was planned for them correspond to what they and their carers wanted and expected?