Michelle Donelan, the new interim Children’s Minister at the Department for Education, has a vital role to play in making foster care in England the very best it can be. Here’s just five issues, of many, for her to tackle as a matter of urgency if we are to see improved stability and outcomes for looked after children. 

Following Gavin Williamson’s appointment as Secretary of State for Education in England under the new Prime Minister, chief executive of The Fostering Network, Kevin Williams, said: ‘We welcome the new Secretary of State to his role and hope that during his tenure he and his team will pay significant attention to foster care and the needs of looked after children. 

A new project raising awareness and reducing the stigma of care experience in educational settings in Scotland has today been announced by The Fostering Network.

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.

Too little progress has been made over the last two years tackling some of the most significant issues impacting on Scotland’s foster families and the children they care for, and the Scottish Government should take immediate action to remedy this, The Fostering Network is warning today with the publication of its State of Scotland’s Foster Care report

As part of our Foster Care FortnightTM 2019 campaign, we held a reception at the Scottish Parliament with children from our Walking Tall project, alongside their foster carers and social workers. We were delighted to be joined by the children’s minister, Maree Todd and the children’s commissioner, Bruce Adamson. We received an apology from the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, however, a few days later we were delighted to receive an invitation to her official residence, Bute House.

Hollie George, 24, will receive The Fostering Network in Northern Ireland’s inaugural President’s Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to foster care. The award will be presented on Friday 17 May at Malone House, Belfast. 

Reflecting on her experience of foster care from the age of nine, Hollie is clear her foster carers, Trevor and Heather, changed her future for the better. 

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:

Over 8,500 foster families are needed across the UK over the next year according to new figures published today (Monday 13 May) by the UK’s leading fostering charity. 

The Fostering Network calculates annual foster family recruitment targets, taking into account a number of factors including the percentage of the foster carer workforce leaving each year and the change in the numbers of children in care. This year’s figures show a need for 7,220 new foster families in England, 250 in Northern Ireland, 580 in Scotland and 550 in Wales. 

Following the publication of the Department for Education’s Outcomes for children looked after by local authorities: 31 March 2018 report, chief executive of The Fostering Network, Kevin Williams, said: ‘It is heartening to see that these figures support previous research from the University of Oxford that care can have a positive impact on the education of some looked after children.