Carers’ status must be impoved

Pensions for foster carers could be one way of
helping fostering to “survive and flourish”, said Mike Jarman,
chairperson of the National Foster Care Association.

Other changes, he went on, could include
payment for special skills – only 40 social services departments
had such schemes – and properly resourced social work teams
offering 24-hour support. He expressed amazement that some local
authorities still did not pay fostering allowances on top of fees.
Too often, he said, the status of carers was “ambiguous” when
viewed by the Inland Revenue and the Contributions Agency.

He added that if the service did not change it
could not offer the best deal for children and young people. While
UK National Standards have “a broader, comprehensive purpose” and
the government’s draft minimum care standards were welcome, Jarman
warned that without change, the service would fail to achieve even
the minimum.

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