A campaign calling for all foster carers to be given a wage for their work was launched this week by the Fostering Network.
The charity suggests that foster carers should receive a fee 52 weeks a year – regardless of whether they were caring for a child for the whole period – to prevent periods of financial instability.
It argues foster carers are increasingly skilled, work as part of a professional team, including social workers and teachers, and should no longer be considered volunteers.
The campaign was launched on the back of research which found two in five foster carers receive no payment for their work and three-quarters are paid less than the minimum wage.
Yet despite the low level of payments, 88 per cent of foster carers did not have a full-time job outside the home and had to rely on the fee from fostering to meet living costs, the report says.
New minimum fostering allowances of at least £100 a week come into force in April but are meant to cover the direct costs incurred in fostering rather than being a wage.
Can’t Afford to Foster