Councils faced with reduced budgets are having to make difficult choices that are often cost driven and not needs led, charity Action for Children has warned.
The charity recommends that children with complex needs should be found therapeutic placements where foster carers have had specialised training but these are two to three times more expensive.
Action for Children argues that a ‘good therapeutic foster carer can have an immediate, positive and lasting impact’ on a child.
Operational director of children’s placements at the charity, Darren Johnson, said: ‘The future for children with complex needs will worsen if the benefits of solo therapeutic foster carers are ignored in place of care that produces immediate cost benefits, but fails to give children the help they need.’
A charity spokesman added: ‘Where children with complex needs are put into a standard foster placement, there is a significant increase in the likelihood of a placement breakdown because the carers are not equipped to cope due to lack of properly resourced support, putting an already highly vulnerable child at greater risk of multiple placement moves.’
Research by the charity found that nearly 70% of its service managers are reporting an increase in needs for children who are in foster care.