This blog post is based on a report titled, “CUTS, the view from foster carers“. It talks about “the impact of austerity measures on fostered children and the families that care for them”. You can find the report by clicking here.
The research was carried out and report written up by the UK’s leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network. The survey had 732 responses (approx 80% were local authority carers, and the remainder from an independent fostering service – click here to read about the differences) and was open for a week. In order to be able to give a fair assessment of the cuts over time, the respondents were all carers who have been foster carers for over 3 years.
Summary of austerity measures affecting fostering
As an overall summary, the graph below shows the responses – where the option of three answers is given: yes, no or I don’t know.
The report continues, going through each of the above issues one-by-one with some very interesting quotes from respondents. Each section has the top three themes or topics pointed out and a few quotes from carers related to each issue. We have summarised the key points below.
Fees and allowances paid to carers
- Fees and allowances “frozen” – kept the same for years, or even reduced.
- The cost of living rising, and not being reflected by the fees. Carers often reach into their own pockets to meet child’s need, as the allowances weren’t enough.
- Carers feeling underpaid, undervalued and overworked.
Access to, and support from fostered child’s social worker
- Social workers are overworked, meaning they can’t spend the same time they used to with individual families.
- This then leads to less contact and a smaller amount of visits and supervision.
- Reduced staff, so more often then not, there’s a new caseworker or social worker, which can then lead to a breakdown in communication.
Access to services and training
- Lack of respite care when needed
- Poor level of support groups
- Over 50% of the carers think that the cuts have affected the training; some of which have had to fund training from their own pockets
Children being placed
- Concerns of children being placed with families who have had no experience or training to deal with that sort of placement
- Children being placed outside of the age ranges
- Children being placed into the care system too late
You can read the full report, about the austerity measures and how they affect fostering, in it’s entirety here. The above is just a few extracts and a summary of the report.
Welcome Foster Care is an independent fostering service – we are always happy to offer free advice and guidance. If you are interested in fostering, or are a foster carer with another service or local authority, speak to us today or fill out a contact form to see how you can find out more about the application process. You can call us on 020 3397 3332 for the London Office, or 0161 638 3391 for the Lancashire Office. Alternatively, click here to fill out an online form.