Meet our new campaigns and engagement officer, find out more about the 30 hours free childcare for fostered children in England, read how we're responding to Fostering Better Outcomes, discover what's happening at the care review in Scotland and see how you can get involved in our 2018 State of the Nation's Foster Care survey.
I’ve just arrived at The Fostering Network as the newest member of the campaigns team. I’m the campaigns and engagement officer, and I’ll be travelling around the UK, meeting foster carers and supporting them to get involved in our exciting campaigns. This is a new role for The Fostering Network and one that will help to make sure foster carers’ voices are at the heart of our campaigning work and are heard by decision makers.
Opening the doors to free childcare in England
The Fostering Network was appalled that foster children were excluded when the government increased the free childcare allowance in England to 30 hours per week for three and four year olds. While foster carers’ birth children were eligible for the additional hours, inexplicably their foster children were not.
Although not every foster family would want to take up the 30 hours, we felt strongly that foster children should not have been discriminated against and we were particularly concerned about how this unfair policy would affect kinship carers (family and friends foster carers).
After engaging many supporters and partner organisations and working with several MPs to build a groundswell of support at Westminster, the Government announced a u-turn on the policy during a debate on 19 December 2017. In September this will come into action and start to improve the opportunities available to foster carers and the children they look after.
Next stage for the care review in Scotland
The care review has entered the Journey stage by appointing a group of experts in care to lead the work. This will ensure that the voice of care experience will continue to drive forward change in Scotland.
The Journey stage will look at practice across Scotland, highlighting good examples, and identifying practices that need to be improved.
We’re delighted that Adam Bennett, one of The Fostering Network’s young champions has been chosen to co-chair the work group on health and wellbeing.
Too often relationships between foster carers and their foster children are being severed when the children move on to a new placement. There is a growing body of evidence showing that this can have a negative impact on children and the success of their new placements.
We are working with academics, politicians, other charities, fostering services, foster carers and young people to push for change. We believe ongoing contact should be encouraged and supported where it is right for the child.
If you’ve been affected by this issue and would be willing to share your story, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Moving forward after the stocktake
The Westminster Government has now responded to two recent reports about fostering; the independent stocktake and the Education Select Committee report about fostering.
We are hugely disappointed with the response, published as a report called Fostering Better Outcomes, and see it as a wasted opportunity for real progress. Put simply, although there is very little in the report that we fundamentally disagree with – and indeed a number of recommendations which we support - it lacks teeth.
We will be writing to the Government to explain where we feel their response has let down foster carers and the thousands of children in their care.
Add your voice
Successful campaigning relies on strong evidence. Our State of the Nation survey takes the views of thousands of foster carers to build up a picture of the state of foster care across the UK.
It only takes 20 minutes and it will help to inform and strengthen our campaigning work.
Keep in touch
With everyone that joins our campaigns, our voice becomes stronger. Sign up to our campaigner email list to stay up to date on what we’re working on and how you can help.