Influx leaves Wales short of child carers

The growing number of English children being placed with foster
parents in Wales is causing a shortage of carers for the
principality’s own children.

The warning by Peter Clarke, children’s commissioner for Wales,
comes as the prospect of better pay is enticing more local
authority foster carers to work for private and voluntary

Non-statutory foster agencies often pay higher maintenance
allowances to foster parents and offer them attractive reward

Clarke said some local authorities were struggling to cope with the
loss of these carers.

“It is not xenophobia and these agencies are not a problem in
themselves, but it is an issue that needs to be addressed,” Clarke

In 2001 there were 3,295 children in foster care in Wales, 100 more
than in 2000.

It is unknown how many English children have been placed with Welsh
foster carers by their local authorities.

Jane Butler, the Fostering Network’s manager for Wales, said
although some English councils were placing children in Wales
“inappropriately”, it was not the fault of the private or voluntary

She said: “We need to improve the status and support for foster
carers so we can build a pool that we can keep and that will
provide stable placements for Welsh children.” 

– Jane Hutt, the Welsh assembly’s health minister, opened the
Fostering Network’s office in Cardiff at last week’s biannual
Fostering Network conference in the Welsh capital.

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