In 2016 the Scottish National Party was elected on a manifesto that promised to introduce a new national allowance for kinship carers and foster carers but, as we come to the end of another year, this pledge has still not been fulfilled.
As time is running out to deliver on their promise, The Fostering Network, the UK’s leading fostering charity, is calling on the Scottish Government to honour their commitment and bring Scotland into line with the rest of the UK.
Foster carers play a vital role in society. Every day they open their hearts and their homes to children who are unable to stay with their own families. Foster carers provide these children with safety and stability, warmth and care, and opportunities to flourish and thrive.
Throughout this exceptionally challenging year, foster carers have continued to give the children they look after the very highest standards of care, often reaching into their own pocket when their local authority’s allowance has fallen short. Now more than ever, they need the protection of a national minimum allowance to make sure they can continue to provide the best possible experience for the children in their care.
The Fostering Network’s 2020 survey of foster care allowances reveals that more than half of Scotland’s local authorities have not raised their foster care allowances in at least two years, representing a decrease in real terms. The Fostering Network believes that the delay in introducing a national minimum allowance has contributed to the decision to freeze rates within local authorities.
Sara Lurie, director of The Fostering Network in Scotland, says: ‘Foster carers and the children they look after, are subject to a drastic postcode lottery. Our report shows that the allowance available for a child varies by up to £120 per week between different local authorities.
‘The Scottish Government has a duty to look after every child in its care. However, Scotland’s children are being short-changed by a system that allows drastically different foster care allowances depending on where a child lives.
‘With every delay, the Government is relying on the goodwill of foster carers to make up the shortfall in the costs of caring for a child, which can be thousands of pounds a year.’