Smokers face foster ban

[Move-over pedophiles, closet child abusers, and FP's just looking for a way to supplement their monthly income....we have a NEW problem on our hands, and it's been decided this is hurting children very badly:]

Press Association, October 29, 2008

Smokers are to be banned from fostering children under a radical new policy.

Redbridge Council, is north east London, said it is striving to protect children from "the damaging effects of passive and second hand smoke from cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco".

Existing foster carers who smoke will be given support to help them give up if the council's cabinet agrees to adopt the policy from January 2010.

Councillor 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.

"Unlike adults, children have little choice about whether or not to be in a smoky environment so I hope the cabinet will take the decision to limit the harmful effects this drug can have on them."

The council said it will mean that people who smoke will not be able to foster children unless there are "exceptional circumstances".

All new applicants who smoke will be advised at an early stage of the application that their smoking habits will be taken into consideration along with other health issues.

The council said the new policy is a result of scientific evidence which showed that "second hand smoke is a cause of lung cancer and childhood respiratory disease".

It said young children were particularly susceptible to the effects of second hand smoke because their lungs and airways were small and their immune systems immature. The risk of cot death, asthma, middle ear disease pneumonia and bronchitis is higher if children live in a home where people smoke.

Norma Gregory, chairwoman of the Redbridge Foster Care Association, said: "Foster carers in Redbridge think this is a good idea and would support anything that safeguards children. However, they have been aware of the impact that passive smoking has on children's health for the past three years and most either don't smoke because they have kicked the habit or if they do, they don't smoke in the company of children."



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