Alan Baird, Chief Social Work Adviser to the Scottish Government, has today given the Scottish Government’s response to the recommendations of the fostering review, at a Children in Scotland conference in Edinburgh.
In response, director of the Fostering Network Scotland Sara Lurie said: “We are delighted that the Scottish Government has recognised the important role of foster care in providing homes for Scotland’s children in care, and has supported the recommendations of the fostering review.
“In particular, we are delighted that placement limits will be introduced, meaning that foster carers will only be required to look after a maximum of three unrelated fostered children, except in exceptional circumstances. The Government has listened, and understood, that exceeding this number adversely affects all children in the home and makes it difficult for foster carers to do their jobs properly. This is an issue that the Fostering Network has been campaigning on for years, and we are extremely pleased that the Government has acted.
“We also believe that the Government has recognised the importance of a core fostering allowance for each fostered child, and that research is currently being undertaken to explore this. Currently across Scotland the allowances given to foster carers vary hugely, leaving some out of pocket as a result of fostering. It’s crucial that a minimum allowance is introduced across Scotland to ensure this is not the case. The research is due to conclude in the spring, and we shall be keeping a close eye on the results and next steps.
“Alan Baird also mentioned learning and development and delegated authority, both key issues of interest for the Fostering Network. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to take work forward in both these areas, to help ensure that Scotland really is the best place for all children to grow up.”
“Today’s announcements come hot on the heels of the recent decision to allow young people to stay with their foster carers until the age of 21. Unfortunately these proposals will only come into force for 16-year-olds in April 2015 – and so we are strongly urging the Government to ensure this happens now for all young people, not just those aged 16 and below, to ensure that all young people currently in care can be sure of a stable and secure home as they become young adults.”
Notes to editors
- Around 5,300 children live with 4,375 foster families in Scotland. This is nearly three-quarters (75 per cent) of 7,000 children in care who are looked after away from home and family.
- The Fostering Network annually calculates recruitment targets, estimating the number of foster families that fostering services need to recruit during the next calendar year across the UK. The figures take into account a number of factors including the percentage of the foster carer workforce leaving each year and the rise in the numbers of children in care. For more information, see www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/advice-information/all-about-fostering/recruitment-targets
- There is a need to recruit 850 new foster carers in Scotland throughout 2014.