The Fostering Network welcomes the publication of the report Care to talk about Money? by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Financial Education for Young People.
The report recognises the key role foster carers play in supporting young people they care for in money management. We fully support and welcome the recommendations that foster carers should have consistent access to training, tools and resources to support them in the provision of effective money related learning for all children in care and that carers should have access to guidance on appropriate financial products. Foster carers support children and young people on a day-to-day basis and are their primary advocates and first educators therefore it is vital they are fully equipped with the tools and resources to support children and young people in money management.
In our written and oral evidence to the APPG’s inquiry into children in care and financial education we focused on the issues faced by foster carers in supporting young people to open up a bank account. Many of these barriers, such as parental responsibility residing with the local authority rather than the foster carer, young people not necessarily holding their original birth certificate or having a passport, can be overcome with banks having a better understanding of the care system and foster care. Therefore we welcome the report’s recommendation that banks should have clear policies in place to ensure children in care can get access to bank accounts and that these policies should be applied consistently with clear signposting for foster carers.
The report explores the measures which are currently in place to support children in care and care leavers in their financial education and makes recommendations for improvements to ensure all young people have the necessary skills to manage their finances in all aspects of their adult life. We hope these recommendations will be supported and enacted across Government; and local authorities, despite the APPG not having direct jurisdiction over them, will actively implement the relevant recommendations to address the current disadvantage being experienced by children in care around financial education compared to their peers who are living with their families.