William Eichler 04 February 2019

Foster carers feel ‘undervalued’, report reveals

Foster carers do not feel treated as an ‘equal and valued’ member of the social care team looking after fostered children, a new report has revealed.

The 2019 State of the Nation’s Foster Care report, published by The Fostering Network, has found that many foster carers are dissatisfied with the current state of children’s social care.

Based on a survey of more than 4,000 foster carers, the report shows that six in 10 foster carers feel the money they receive for caring for foster children does not meet the full costs.

The survey also revealed that 58% of carers do not feel that they are treated as an equal and valued member of the team by their fostered child’s social workers.

When asked to look after a child outside of their usual age range and expertise, more than three-quarters of foster carers say they are not given sufficient support or training.

Only about a third of foster carers feel that the provision of a short break from fostering when they need it is excellent or good.

‘Every day foster carers are looking after 65,000 of the UK’s most vulnerable children, many of whom have had very traumatic starts to life and need expert and loving care to help them turn their lives around,’ said chief executive of The Fostering Network, Kevin Williams.

‘A decade of austerity and subsequent cuts to early intervention and key family support services have led to more children coming into care with more challenging needs.

‘At the same time these budget cuts also mean that, at the time when they most need it, foster carers are not receiving the support, training and respect that they need to do this difficult role to the best of their ability.

‘It is essential that foster carers are treated as key members of the social care team, and are given all the financial and practical support required, so that they can do their job properly — which is to focus on individual children’s needs and helping those children to thrive.’

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