Here's the latest news from our campaigns team, including our biggest achievements for 2018 and what's coming up in the year ahead.
Thank you for all your support for our campaigns in 2018, it was a jam-packed year. Together we took action to raise the profile of foster care and campaigned to improve the care system for young people and the families that care for them.
More than 4,000 of you responded to our State of the Nation survey to tell us exactly what is happening across the UK and where we should be focusing.
You also wrote to your elected representatives over 1,000 times using our digital campaigning tool. You told them why you were unhappy with the fostering stocktake, you told them children should not have their significant relationships with their foster carer broken without reason and reminded them why post-18 care is so important.
In September, as a result of our campaign, 30 hours free childcare for three and four-year olds was extended to children in foster care in England. It was also introduced to areas in Wales and will be rolled out there completely by 2020.
These campaigns and your stories have helped to keep the spotlight on fostering and have made sure that politicians across the UK consider children and young people in foster care and the critical service that you, as foster carers, provide.
2019 is set to be just as busy.
State of the Nation
Next month we’ll be sharing the results of the 2018 State of the Nation survey. More people than ever took the survey and we look forward to hearing what you think of the results, which will be using the results to inform our policy and campaigning work.
Life after 18
In November we launched our report, Staying Put: An Unfulfilled Promise, and since then over 500 people have written to their MP in support of the campaign. MPs have gone on to raise the issues with the scheme with the Westminster Children’s Minister, and ask that Staying Put in England be reviewed, costed and fully funded. We have had a response from the Minister which, although clarifying that a foster carer’s approval should not lapse while they have a Staying Put placement, still does not address the fundamental cultural and financial problems with the policy’s implementation.
In 2019, we will continue to put pressure on the Westminster Government to make sure the promise of Staying Put is fulfilled and more young people can benefit from an extra three years in a stable home.
We also responded to the latest figures for the number of young people staying with their foster carers in Wales, which remained woefully low. Read more here.
After a successful roundtable meeting last year, we are developing a set of principles to underpin transitions when a child moves within and out of the care system, so that relationships between foster families and the children they have cared for, are maintained. We’ll be launching these soon at an event in Westminster, so watch this space.
Allowances - Scotland
In February last year, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister received over 100 letters from you about the need to implement a national minimum allowance in Scotland without delay. In September, the Government published their National Review of Care Allowances Report which frustratingly only contained a recommendation to consider a national minimum allowance. In November, we met with Maree Todd, Minster for Children and Young People to establish what the obstacles are and how we implement the allowances without further delay. Next steps are to meet with COSLA to find a way forward.
Foster care charter
We have been working with the Department for Education to ensure our foster care charter delivers what fostering services and foster carers expect. We will be able to share the updated version in the next few months.
If your fostering service has a charter, we’d love to hear from you about whether it has been useful to you, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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