The green paper outlines plans to improve the status of foster carers through salaries, registration and training.
As predicted by Community Care, it proposes a graduated model of foster care placements, underpinned by a national qualifications framework and fee structure for foster carers.
Carers would be trained, skilled and paid according to children’s individual requirements (see Three tiers of foster placements). However, Department for Education and Skills officials warned that only tier-three foster carers providing specialist care were
likely to qualify for a salary.
Revised national minimum standards and a mandatory national registration scheme for foster carers would also be introduced.
Education secretary Alan Johnson said: “As we found with teachers, if you can give some professional status to the job, you don’t have such a high turnover and you have people who are better trained.”
He insisted the salary would be “more than just a token honorarium”, and said it was wrong to assume the Treasury would not fund the plan. “It’s a matter of the overall package,” he said, pointing to the wider benefits of the plans, including the potential savings to the criminal justice system if fewer children in care offended in later life.
But Fostering Network chief executive Robert Tapsfield warned the plans would require “significant additional funding”.
Children with some additional needs, including those with disabilities and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. About
Children with severe or complex needs requiring specialist care, such as intensive, structured multiagency
support. About 3,000-4,000 children.