A call to MP’s, ministers, government and fostering providers

Please help us keep children in their loving fostering families

Please help us keep children in their loving fostering families

Urgent cost-of-living payments needed

“I am using food banks, I feel so ashamed, but can’t mention it to the council or I’ll lose my child, shes been with me for 8yrs, we are her family, she has no one else”

Foster Carers comments from the 2022 FosterWiki cost-of-living survey

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.

The statistics

  • 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.

“We are being forced into poverty despite working additional jobs to supplement the cost of living. We are fearful that we will be pulled across the coals for not providing all of life’s comforts to our foster children and are continuously put off from asking for help from our social workers as it is seen as our lacking of ability to cope and not as a result of economic restraints.”

A foster Carer

“We can no longer afford to foster so are handing our notice in soon. We have fostered for 15 years, I have to be available for the kids and the pay just doesn’t cover it. We have been told numerous times that if we didn’t have our foster child she would be in a specialist children’s home- a very expensive option and not the best for her.”

Foster Carers comments from the 2022 FosterWiki cost-of-living survey

“Any child should not feel the burden of the cost of living in the current climate because most of them have suffered enough deprivation in their short lives. I feel genuinely concerned about how long I can sustain living below the financial threshold.”

Foster Carers comments from the 2022 FosterWiki cost-of-living survey

“We have fostered for 11 years now but feel very let down…with no help with the rise in the cost of living if our authorities keep refusing this then we will have no choice but to walk away from fostering which will break our hearts but financially we can not carry on.”

A foster Carer

“After 12 years we are seriously considering quitting fostering as it’s not now financially viable.”

A foster Carer

What can we all do?

Write to your MP

Send 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:

References, articles, surveys