13 charities and organisations have called upon the Westminster Government to overturn the discriminatory decision to exclude all fostered children from accessing the additional 15 hours free childcare.
In a letter in The Guardian, the organisations urge the Children’s Minister, Robert Goodwill, to review the eligibility criteria and to reverse the decision immediately.
In the letter the organisations said: ‘Children aged three and four across England are now entitled to an extra 15 hours of free childcare each week, with the exception of fostered children who have been explicitly and inexplicably excluded.
‘Moreover, foster carers are as group unpaid or underpaid, and are often expected to work outside the home and not rely on their fostering income; they may therefore benefit from this extra childcare. This may particularly be the case for family and friends foster carers and those providing long-term care.
‘We believe it should be left to the foster carer and the social work team to decide what is best for each individual child and the wider fostering family. Fostered children must have access to the same opportunities as other children, including the sons and daughters of foster carers who are eligible for the extra hours of childcare. We urge the Minister to rethink this decision immediately.’
The signatories of the letter are:
Carol Iddon, Manager Director, children’s services, Action for Children
Natasha Finlayson, Chief Executive, Become
Maris Stratulis, England Manager, British Association of Social Workers
David Graham, National Director, The Care Leavers’ Association
Kathy Evans, Chief Executive, Children England
John Simmonds, Director, Policy, Research and Development, Coram Voice
Brigid Robinson, Managing Director, Coram BAAF
Kevin Williams, Chief Executive, The Fostering Network
Jon Fayle and Paul Smart, Co-chairs, National Association of Independent Reviewing Officers
Rita Waters, CEO, National Youth Advocacy Service
Andy Elvin, CEO, Tact
Jill Sheldrake, Service Director, The Together Trust
Ron Giddens, CEO, St Christopher’s