The Fostering Network has highlighted a lack of support for foster carers and a failure to recognise the vital role they play at the heart of children’s social care in its latest State of the Nation’s Foster Care report published today.
The report is based on the UK’s leading fostering charity’s survey of more than 4,000 foster carers, and shows that many foster carers do not feel treated as an equal and valued member of the social care team looking after fostered children, nor do they feel adequately supported, practically or financially.
The report outlines a range of recommendations aimed at government investment and legislative change, as well as local practice issues.
Chief Executive of The Fostering Network, Kevin Williams, said: “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. 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.”