Almost two-thirds of foster carers have taken children they are
not approved to look after, often under pressure from social
workers, according to survey results released this week.
The poll of 5,000 foster carers uncovered many who had been
“guilt tripped” by social workers into taking children who were a
different age or sex to the ones they had the training and skills
to look after.
Foster carers also complained of a lack of support and training
from social services departments, the study by Fostering Network
One carer with a long-term placement said they had not been
contacted by their social worker for two years and others said they
had not received any training for six years, the charity said.
Foster carers also reported having to sleep on their sofas after
accepting children they did not really have room for.
Fostering Network’s head of policy Vicki Swain said: “Social
workers were phoning them up trying to ‘guilt-trip’ them, saying if
they didn’t take these children there would be nowhere safe to take
them or they would go to independent care, costing more money.”
She said social workers also withheld information about children
which they felt might discourage a foster caring from accepting
Swain said the poll illustrated the effects of the estimated
10,000 national shortage of foster carers.
She argued the government had to invest more in payments,
expenses and training for foster carers and said they needed to be
treated as fellow professionals by social workers.
A second poll released by the network this week, to coincide
with the launch of foster care fortnight, finds that three-quarters
of adults are ruling themselves out of fostering because of
misconceptions about what the role requires.
The survey reveals that many people feel they need to be
married, not in full-time work or be a home-owner in order to be a