September campaigns update

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Welcome to another edition of the campaigns blog, with Robert Cann, campaigns officer at The Fostering Network.

Children and Social Work Bill

Last time we reported on the amendment we have tabled to clause 8 of the Children and Social Work Bill to improve the legal standing of long term foster care as a permanence option.

As part of our Keep Connected campaign, we are also pursuing an amendment to clause one’s corporate parenting principles. We want to see an additional principle added to the Bill to nurture, protect and maintain young people’s relationships with birth families and former foster families.

The next stage of the Bill is in the House of Lords in early October. We have recently met with supportive peers who have agreed to table this amendment, and we are looking to build on this support in the coming weeks.

Fostering Stats

The Department for Education has recently published its latest statistics for children in care in England (departments in other countries of the UK publish their equivalents at other times of the year). The latest stats show a marked increase in the numbers of asylum seeking children, up 50 per cent on last year. They also show that 10 per cent of care leavers aged 19 are now living with former foster carers. We are proud of the campaigning role we played to bring ‘staying put’ into law, but we want to see this percentage increase significantly. We are keeping the pressure up on Government to fund fostering services enough to allow all foster carers to offer such living arrangements. No one should have to leave home before they’re ready, I’m sure you all agree. Read more on this from Jackie Sanders.

Allowances

The annual survey of foster care allowances across the UK is now complete. Our campaign in Scotland is ongoing for national minimum allowances there: despite false promises last year the Scottish Government has still not implemented a policy. We are also holding to account those local authorities in the rest of the UK who pay below their governments' stated minimum allowance. There are only a few such authorities, and more do come into line each year. However, the main issue for foster care finance everywhere seems to be that allowances are both being frozen and subtle changes, such as decreasing mileage allowances or reducing settling in payments at the start of placements, are forcing foster carers to dip further into their own pockets to support the children they look after on behalf of the state. This is not on!

Thank you for your continued interest in our campaigns work. Do please email the campaigns team with any questions or comments.