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Fostering advert criticised as 'insensitive'

Agency under fire for suggesting people in foster care will be 'moved out' to state support soon as they turn 18 ...

Professional Social Work magazine, 5 November, 2020

An advertising campaign by a private fostering agency has come under fire for appearing to suggest foster carers no longer need to assume responsibility for foster children once they turn 18.

Horizon Fostering’s advert attracted criticism on social media for stating those in foster care will be “moved out” to state support as soon as they become an adult.

The advert depicts a young adult waving goodbye to her carer as she walks out the door with the words: “What happens when my foster kid turns 18 years old?”

The agency answers: “When your foster child will turn 18, they will be moved out of foster care. The state assists these individuals in their transition from foster care to independence.”

The post was heavily criticised on social media. One Twitter commentator said: “This is entirely and utterly insensitive and inappropriate and absolutely makes me believe @HFostering should not be responsible for fostering provision.”

Another posted: “Who would want to foster for an agency that calls children ‘these individuals’? What does this agency tell people at training?”

One tweet simply said: “Horrendous advertising by this private foster care company.”

BASW England professional officer Wayne Reid said: “The Horizon Fostering advert is insensitive and reduces the role of foster carers to that of landlord.

“Sadly it does very little to highlight the holistic care provided by some foster carers from private fostering agencies. Not a good look.”

BASW England national director Maris Stratulis added: “Children are not commodities or assets to be moved around or ‘moved out’ of fostering placements or to be compared to inanimate objects.

“We have just entered a second national lockdown and more than ever children and young people need stability and security.

“This sends out the wrong message and as corporate parents, local authorities have a responsibility to ensure family placement providers prioritise the needs of children in their care.”

Stratulis called upon commissioners to “ensure all providers they contract respect the rights and wellbeing of children at the core of everything they do”.

Horizon Fostering, which works in London and the south-east, was contacted for a response.

It’s not the first time a private fostering agency has come under fire for an insensitive advertising campaign.

Earlier this year Suffolk-based Little Acorns Fostering was forced to apologise and withdraw an advert that compared children to mops.

This article is published by Professional Social work magazine which provides a platform for a range of perspectives across the social work sector. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the British Association of Social Workers