§ Mr. Alex Carlile
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has proposals for changes in the foster care system specifically aimed at putting an end to the high incidence of child abuse; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
Foster parents are a valuable community resource who at times have to look after very difficult children. They need adequate support and supervision. The small numbers of recent tragic cases does not lead us to believe that the incidence of child abuse by foster parents is high. The regulatory framework has been tightened up with the introduction of the Boarding Out of Children (Foster Placement) Regulations 1988, which came into force on 1 June 1989. Copies of the regulations can be found in the Library. Implementation of the Children Act will be accompanied by new regulations arid guidance to local authorities on a number of foster care issues.