A call to MP’s, ministers, government and fostering providers
Please help us keep children in their loving fostering families
Urgent cost-of-living payments needed
Foreword by FosterWiki founder Sarah Anderson
Foster care was already teetering on the edge, a beleaguered system spiralling into irreversible free fall, the cost-of-living crisis merely exacerbating the situation, 54% of foster carers are considering quitting, forced to resign as they can no longer afford to foster.
Many children are already bounced around the system creating lifelong mental health issues and poor outcomes, and there is now serious risk of further suffering.
Going forward we need to ensure placement stability and retention at this crucial time, as well as a full and comprehensive review of fostering systems, education, working conditions, fee equality, stability and support if we are to have any hope of recruiting.
Why are fostering families different and why should they get help?
Fostering is a full-time job
- Most carers don’t do other jobs, foster care is their job. The vulnerable and traumatised children they care for have extra needs that require full-time care.
- Foster carers are no different to anyone else, they are rarely wealthy, and they need an income, not just an allowance for the child but an actual income to cover the mortgage/rent, bills and other multiple household outgoings.
- Some carers are single, some foster in couples, and in couples one of them will be at home as a foster carer. 40% of fostering families have no other household income and amongst those with a second household income, 97% say they are significantly impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.
- The local authority are the “parent”, they place children into family settings to be cared for and are responsible for the full financial support of their corporate child.
- The Children’s Minister April stated “The department is clear that no one should be “out of pocket” because of their fostering role”. This is clearly not the case now and has not been for
a long time.
- The government increased the children’s allowances in April 2022 by £10 per month, and only 5% reported having this allowance passed on, they tell us their household bills have risen, on average, by £500 per month.
- 54% of foster carers are considering resigning due to the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.
- 97% say they are significantly impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.
- 87% say they have had no financial help at all.
- 89% say they are having to cut back on money spent on the children, food, heating, travel and activities.
- 2.5% of foster carers are using food banks and we are hearing that many more are but are too ashamed to say so, and many saying they will soon have to resort to them.
- 86% no help with council tax, 11% receive partial help, and only 2.8% full exemption.
- 71% say travel allowances don’t cover transport/fuel, and 23% don’t even get fuel/travel allowances.
- 26,000 new carers are needed by 2025* recruitment is at an all-time low and now we are looking at losing half the current approved carers.
What are we asking for?
- Extra payments of £650 a quarter per fostering household, commencing in October, until the cost-of-living crisis, subsides, to be kept under constant review.
- The payments need to be ring-fenced by the government to avoid red tape and misappropriation.
- Council tax exemption for all foster carers.
- A full comprehensive review of fostering finances, and a levelling up of allowances and skills fees throughout the UK.
What can we all do?
Write to your MPSend one personalised paragraph along with the link to this page as a 2-minute read. Introduce yourself and say why it’s urgent you receive help, tell them about your children (no names) and why this help is crucial to them and your fostering family. They need to know how it will impact you, or others in your constituency and community, just be very brief one or two paragraphs max so that it gets read. It is important for MP’s to understand the personal impact on their constituents’ families and children. You will find your MP here, including their email address: https://members.parliament.uk/members/commons?SearchText=So206nb&PartyId=&Gender=Any&ForParliament=0&ShowAdvance d=False
Please also send to:
- The RT Hon Kit Malthouse MP – Secretary of State for Education [email protected], https://members.parliament.uk/member/4495/contact
- The RT Hon Kelly Tolhurst MP – Minister of State for Schools and Childhood
References, articles, surveys
- The FosterWiki cost-of-living survey report https://fosterwiki.com/2022-cost-of-living-crisis-survey-results/
- Fostering Network – State of the Nation report 2021 https://www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/sotn21
- Fostertalk cost-of-living survey https://fostertalk.org/voicesoffostercare/
- Guardian – Shortfall of 25k families https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/aug/29/vulnerable-children-at-risk-as-england-facesshortfall-of-25000-foster-families
- Community Care – Half of the foster carers concerning quitting due to cost-of-living https://www.communitycare.co.uk/2022/08/02/half-of-foster-carers-considering-quitting-dueto-cost-of-living-crisis-finds-survey/
- Fostering Network – Response to FosterWiki survey https://www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/media-release/2022/funding-foster-carers-responsesurvey-cost-living-crisis
- Children and Young People Now – Foster carers reconsider role amid cost-of-living crisis https://www.cypnow.co.uk/news/article/foster-carers-reconsider-role-amid-cost-of-living-crisis