The governments of the UK must spend an extra £748 million
to bring fostering services up to a decent standard, according to a
report launched today, writes Simeon
The study, the first to calculate the cost of a fully-resourced
foster care service, estimates that the governments of England,
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will need to spend
£1.7billion next year, against an actual spend of £932
million this year.
Published jointly by the Fostering Network and Baaf Adoption and
Fostering, the report has gained broad support from local
government representatives in all four countries as well as the
Commission for Social Care Inspection and children’s
The authors argue that the extra funding is needed to tackle a
10,000 shortage of foster carers across the UK, resulting in
inappropriate placements which often break down.
The study bases its calculations on the assumption that foster
carers will be paid a minimum allowance of at least £112 a
week to cover the full cost of providing care – more than
many now receive.
It also assumes that the 85 per cent of foster carers, who are not
the child’s friend or family member, will receive a fee of at
least £120 a week in recognition of their role as members of
the children’s workforce.
The report argues that the demands of foster caring make it
unlikely that carers will be able to hold down another full-time
job. But it says currently less than 50 per cent of foster carers
receive any fee on top of their allowance.
Increased training for foster carers, improved management and
support systems and respite provision are also included in the