Foster Care Better Than Biological Families For Vulnerable Children: According to researchers from the universities of Oxford and Bristol, children in foster care make better progress at school than their vulnerable peers who remain with their troubled families. However, the benefit – which can amount of up to 6 GCSE grades at age 16 – is not sufficient on average to bring fostered children the results of the general population, with both fostered children and those living with troubled families having lower attainment than the wider school population.
The study reviewed the results of 640,000 teenagers who took GCSEs in 2013, with around 14,000 of these individuals deemed to be ‘in need’ but still living with their parents (supported by social workers). Their results were not as good as around 6,000 pupils who were in care.
Speaking about the research, Professor David Berridge of Bristol University said that children do better at school when they feel ‘safe and secure’.
The findings also suggested that the longer children remain in foster care, the better they tend to do.
Professor Berridge went on to add:
“Young people…said they could only do well at school once they felt safe and secure, that they mattered to someone and that their birth parents were also bring supported…carers, teachers and social workers need to work together to achieve this.”
Contrary to some previous theories, this study suggests that the care system acts as a protective element educationally. In particular, a stable environment can help reduce the number of days spent absent from school among pupils.
Edward Timpson, the Children’s Minister, said he had seen first-hand how education combined with a stable environment could ‘transform the lives of some of our most vulnerable children.’ He went on to explain that recent changes made the Government would allow fostered children to remain with their foster families until the age of 21.
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