Increase in child protection data breaches

The Fostering Network has expressed concern after Freedom of Information (FoI) requests found that the number of data breaches in child protection departments has risen across London.

Data breaches are up a third since 2014, with the number of cases rising from 114 in 2013 to 152 in 2017 across 17 boroughs that responded to the FoI requests, which were made by the BBC.

There were 121 breaches in 2014, 161 in 2015 and 146 in 2016.

Jackie Sanders, communications and public affairs director at The Fostering Network, said: ‘It is extremely disappointing to hear about this increase in data breaches. Living with a foster family ought to provide safety and stability to children who so desperately need it. Anything that puts that stability at risk must be challenged.

‘The fact that children are having to be moved and foster families are fearing for their safety is appalling. Foster carers must be certain that their data is secure, and fostering and related services must prioritise eliminating these breaches as a matter of urgency.’

In two cases reported by the BBC, the contact details of foster carers were leaked to the birth families by a hospital, resulting in foster parents having to move house and another family receiving death threats.