The Fostering Network is today writing to Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, to express our deep concern over the Scottish Government’s decision to omit continuing care allowances from their review of fostering, kinship care and adoption allowances.
It has taken many years of campaigning by The Fostering Network and our members to get to the point where allowances are being reviewed with the intention of introducing a minimum fostering allowance - the Scottish Government first made a promise to look into foster care allowances as long ago as 2006.
However, the fact that continuing care allowances are being excluded from the process means the review is in danger of letting a generation of young people down.
From 2015, young people have been eligible to remain with their foster carer until the age of 21, ensuring a smooth and supported transition to adulthood and resulting in improved long term outcomes for care-experienced young people. One of the biggest obstacles to foster carers being able to offer a continuing care placement is the loss of income from fostering, especially if this is their main source of income.
Currently continuing care allowances vary greatly by local authority and many fostering services reduce the allowance given to foster carers once the young person reaches the age of 18 (or, in some cases, 16).
Sara Lurie, director of The Fostering Network in Scotland said: ‘It is essential that a minimum fostering allowance is introduced in Scotland – we are the only nation in the UK not to have such an allowance. The current allowances review is an important step along the way, but any excitement of being so close to getting something we’ve campaigned for for so long is marred by the fact that the review is failing to address the allowances for the large numbers of young people in continuing care placements.
‘If continuing care minimum allowances for foster carers are to be achieved across Scotland they need to be put urgently into the remit of the Government’s allowances review. This will help to ensure greater stability and better outcomes for our young people.
‘We would also encourage all foster carers to take the opportunity to respond to the consultation to ensure they get a national minimum allowance which reflects the true costs of fostering.’