Pay for foster carers has not been properly addressed in the
children’s green paper, Labour MP and former social worker Hilton
Dawson said last week.
He told the annual conference of the Fostering Network in London
that the government needed to launch a national recruitment
campaign for foster carers, a national helpline, increase training
and recognise skills through praise and pay.
Two-thirds of councils pay below the £105 allowance per
child recommended by the Fostering Network and many foster carers
are leaving because of lack of support and financial security.
But Dawson also provoked protests from delegates by criticising
foster carers for sometimes failing to ensure the children in their
care gained the right to voice their views. Foster carers said they
were often left out of decision-making by social workers and had to
fight for their own rights.
Meanwhile, a study of 46 voluntary, statutory and independent
fostering agencies’ working practices has found that many are
beginning to see foster caring as a profession and offer foster
carers career choices within or connected to fostering.
It reveals that fostering agencies are increasingly focusing on
developing foster carers’ skills to boost recruitment and job
The research, by the University of East Anglia, was commissioned
by the Social Care Institute for Excellence. For more information
go to www.scie.org.uk