New Clause 14

Part of Children and Young Persons Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:00 pm ar 3 Gorffennaf 2008.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Annette Brooke Annette Brooke Shadow Spokesperson (Children, Schools and Families), Shadow Minister (Education) 2:00, 3 Gorffennaf 2008

I, too, will start by thanking the Fostering Network for bringing these important issues to our attention in a very powerful way—through the meetings with foster carers and looked-after children.

Unfounded allegations will undoubtedly be made, because we are talking about often very troubled children who will feel the need to hit back. Making such allegations is one manifestation of that impulse. However, given what we hear after the events in various children’s homes—I have a constituent who was placed with a foster carer many years ago and it was proven that he was abused while in that care—it is vital that allegations are investigated properly. It is also important that there should be pressure to complete investigations in a timely fashion.

Most of all, payment of the fee to the foster parent while the investigation is taking place is vital. We pride ourselves in this country on working on the premise that people are innocent until proved guilty. The current provision seems to go completely against that by stopping payment immediately an allegation is made. I also concur with the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich about the need for anonymity as far as is possible.