Together with our members and supporters we are a powerful catalyst for change, and we've been leading the fostering agenda for more than 40 years, influencing and shaping policy and practice at every level. Below are just a few of our campaigning successes.
Don’t Move Me
The Fostering Network led the successful Don’t Move Me Campaign allowing young people to stay with their fostering families until they are 21 if they wish to. This has given much-needed stability to some of the most vulnerable teenagers who otherwise may find themselves isolated and drifting away from sources of support. This came into law in England in 2014, Scotland in 2015 and Wales followed in 2016. This was already happening in Northern Ireland for young people in education, employment and training through the Going the Extra Mile scheme.
One of the biggest changes to benefit fostered young people in many years, this happened because of the enormous support we received from foster carers, young people, fostering services and organisations who worked tirelessly to make this happen.
National Minimum Fostering Allowances
After 30 years of campaigning for foster carers to be fairly reimbursed for the extra costs involved in raising a fostered child, in 2007 the Government finally agreed to pay minimum allowances in England. Minimum rates followed shortly in Northern Ireland and Wales.
Every year we conduct a survey of all allowances in the UK to alert those fostering services who appear to be paying below the national minimum rates - there were only 5 out of 150 in England in 2017. One of these immediately increased their payments to fall in line, and the rest were reported to the Department for Education, following which the children's minister agreed to write to remind them of their responsibilities.
We are currently campaigning for minimum allowances in Scotland to bring them into line with the rest of the UK. Currently 25 per cent of local authorities of local authorities in Scotland are not paying their foster carers allowances equal to the minimum allowances in neighbouring nations.
After a campaign led by The Fostering Network, the Scottish Government introduced placement limits on the number of unrelated fostered children who can live with each foster family.
Since 29 December 2014, through an amendment to The Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations, it is unlawful for children to be accommodated in a foster care placement with more than two other unrelated looked after children.
The law doesn’t apply to placements that were already set up and functioning well. This brings Scotland in line with the rest of the UK.
As part of the Welfare Reform Act, the Government proposed that rooms used by fostered children would be deemed underoccupied and foster carers claiming housing benefit would get it reduced as a result. Following a campaign by The Fostering Network, the Government reconsidered, and foster carers are now allowed one spare room. The campaign continues for foster carers with more than one room for a fostered child.
The Fostering Network lobbied HMRC about the taxation of foster carers. Local tax agreements meant that foster carers were being taxed differently according to where they lived. Many foster carers were taxed on the money they spent on their fostered children. The Fostering Network negotiated a simplified and fairer tax system whereby foster carers had a taxation threshold of £10,000 per year plus £200 or £250 per week per fostered child, depending on the child’s age.
To help us with future campaigns and to stay up to date with our campaigning activity, contact our campaigns team.