There is a growing body of research that suggests when a major catastophe occurs in child protection, it will be followed by an over reaction - the system and those in it seek to protect themselves. If a child dies, an increase in foster care placements follows. This has been seen in several locations such as in Britain and the USA. BBC reports that just such a trend is occuring in Britain now following the death of Baby Peter.
Reseach from Cahpin Hill in the United States tells us that foster care often fails to deliver a good outcome overthe long run often because the resources needed to support a successful outcome are lacking.
There are claerly cases where sustaining a child in tehfamily is not possible but a child's death should not take the profession away from good case work to risk management - yet that is what happens. Risk management approaches are not about good case management.
Here is a report from BBC this week
A sharp increase in the number of children being taken into care following the death of Peter Connelly, known as Baby Peter, is putting increasing pressure on foster carers, figures seen by Newsnight show. Liz MacKean meets those affected.
Michele Sutcliffe's home is, as ever, busy and noisy. Her two young boys charge about their Cheshire garden with their football.
Standing in goal is Jeff Fletcher, one of the many young people raised by Michele and her husband during the 14 years they have been foster carers.
When stable and living with someone you can worry about yourself and get on with your own life
"Things have deteriorated in recent years," Michele tells me.
It has got worse because of the growing pressure to find suitable placements for children in need.
Even while having their own two boys, the Sutcliffes continued to provide a home and haven for teenagers - some of them very troubled.
But Michele explains how she has taken care of children she would never have taken in had she been given more information about them.
"We have had placements... where it's apparent very quickly they're mismatched - and my own children are then at risk due to the nature of these children," she says.
I ask Michele why she had not been given a full picture, and she explains how her local authority is "desperate to place children" and that "they've got little choice and few options".
A report from the Fostering Network , called Bursting at the Seams due to be published on Thursday will show how desperate some local authorities have become to meet a growing demand for their fostering services.
The foster care system is the United Kingdom is under tremendous strain at the moment
A third need to find homes for an additional 50 children. Two thirds have asked foster carers to take in children outside those for which they are officially approved.
The 2007 death of Peter Connelly in north London despite being seen regularly by child care professionals has seen social workers more inclined to recommend children are taken away from problem parents.
In the last year, this has led to a 34% rise in children being taken into care in England, putting the system under increasing strain.
Robert Tapsfield, from the Fostering Network, argues this is more likely to lead to inappropriate placements.
"When children don't find the right family for them it's more likely to break down, and that's when things start to go wrong," he says.
The foster care system is the United Kingdom is under tremendous strain at the moment."
Jeff Fletcher, who's now 25, believes his own experience shows why long-term foster placements are so vital. He now has a child of his own and puts his current stability down to the six years he spent with the Sutcliffes.
It's very difficult to say no, because you wonder where that young person's going to go to if you don't take them
"The upset of leaving home was bad enough," he says. "If you have to move around it's another rejection... when stable and living with someone you can worry about yourself and get on with your own life."
In Aberaeron, North Wales, 15-year-old Leon has also benefitted from his foster placement. He works as a sous chef, and admits he would probably have "ended up going into crime and stuff" had he not found a stable placement.
"I used to be shy, kept myself to myself. But now I've come out of my shell," he says.
And Caroline March, who has looked after Leon for six years, says turning a child down can be hard.
"It's very difficult to say no, because you wonder where that young person's going to go to if you don't take them," she says. "And you know you have that ability to work with them - every child has something to work with."
Foster carers provide sanctuary to around 75% of all children in care.
Foster carers fears that the growing pressure will turn carers away and put others off at a time when they are more needed than ever.