Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Smokers will be banned from fostering children under radical measures to be introduced in London.
Redbridge council is thought to be the first in the country to implement the rules, despite a shortage of 2,000 foster carers across the capital.
The move is aimed at limiting children’s exposure to the effects of passive and second-hand smoke from cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco.
The new smoking policy, to be voted on next week, will apply to all foster carers except family members who are known as “private foster carers”.
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From this year all new applicants who smoke will be advised at an early stage of the process that their smoking habits will be taken into consideration along with other health issues. But from 2010 there will be an absolute ban on new foster carers who smoke.
All existing carers will have a discussion about smoking at their annual review and during home visits.
Those wishing to give up will be given support and advice from their supervising social worker and information on the effects of passive smoking.
Rules will be particularly strict for children under five, those with a disability who are unable to play outside or those with respiratory problems.
Michael Stark, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “While the council recognises the proven skills and abilities of its carers who smoke, it is essential that the health of our looked after children is protected.
Full story here.