Having been successful in achieving recognition of the need for official national minimum rates, The Fostering Network will not be making further recommendations on the levels of fostering allowances from the beginning of the financial year 2016-17, after many years of making such recommendations. Instead we will now take on the role of critiquing national minimum recommendations and influencing local decision-making about the setting of allowances. We will also be encouraging fostering services which have been using The Fostering Network’s allowances to uprate their allowances by the rate of inflation each year.
The Fostering Network has been campaigning, on behalf of foster carers, for the introduction of allowances since the early 1990s. Governmental recommendations for minimum allowances were introduced in England and followed by Northern Ireland almost a decade ago, and then by Wales in 2011. We are delighted that the Scottish Government has committed to making national recommendations in the near future, and is currently undertaking research to this end.
Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: ‘We are very pleased that our campaigning has resulted in national minimum recommendations being established, or well on the way to being established, in all four countries of the UK. We now believe that we can play a greater role in ensuring that the allowances reflect the reality of the costs of caring for a fostered child, including the various nuances across the UK, and we will encourage constructive dialogue, consultation and negotiation concerning allowances between foster carers and services at local level.
‘We will also be pressing for foster carers to receive a fee in the light of the vital role they play in the care system. Foster carers are key members of the professional team involved in the care of looked after children. In our view the payment of no fees or low fees are an injustice which threatens to compromise the quality of foster care.'