Response to call for spare room requirement to be scrapped

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In response to the article in today’s Daily Record highlighting a call for the requirement for prospective foster carers to have a spare room to be scrapped, Sara Lurie, director of The Fostering Network in Scotland said:

‘As figures released by The Fostering Network this week show, there is an ongoing need for thousands more foster families across the UK. To meet that recruitment need fostering services need to take innovative approaches, but the welfare of children and young people in foster care must never be compromised.

‘We know that size of housing is a challenge, both for existing foster carers who would like to foster more children and for potential foster carers. However, we would have significant concerns about removing the requirement for those applying to foster to have a spare room because the experiences of children prior to coming into care means that having their own bedroom, privacy and personal space will be very important. The impact on the birth children of foster carers sharing a room also needs to be taken into account.

‘We are also concerned, however, that some people who would make excellent foster carers are being prevented from pursuing their application because they do not have a spare room. Fostering services should be encouraged to take a creative approach to how someone who would make a fantastic foster carer can be supported to live in accommodation with a spare room. This may for example involve moving people who are currently living in council housing to a larger property or, subject to the person being approved as a foster carer, agreeing to pay for an extension. These options are good financially if the person fosters for a number of years, but also will enable more people to consider fostering.’