Foster carers set up fighting fund to win protection of employment law

    Foster carers are pledging cash on an internet chat forum in a
    campaign to bring foster care under employment law.

    Many have pledged about £50 each as they seek a ruling in the
    European courts.

    Initially, the money will pay for a consultation so that a
    barrister can produce a written report to determine the position of
    foster carers in relation to the law and European directives.

    The Welsh Foster Care Forum has started the process by arranging a
    meeting next month with solicitor Mick Antoniw.

    The forum’s vice-chairman, Rhys Hughes, said the aim was to prevent
    local authorities and agencies being able to deregister foster
    carers and take away their income “on a whim”.

    If foster carers were recognised under employment law, those who
    felt they were treated unfairly could take local authorities and
    agencies to an employment tribunal.

    Councils and agencies which failed to prove allegations through
    criminal or civil courts could find themselves guilty of “forcing
    carers out the back door” if they chose not to provide them with
    foster children.

    But Felicity Collier, chief executive of Baaf Adoption and
    Fostering, warned that, although it was important for foster carers
    to be well supported if they faced allegations, “we must never
    forget the importance of protecting children”.

    She added: “If, on the balance of probabilities, it is considered
    children’s needs are not being adequately met by carers, then
    deregistration has to be possible.”

    Baaf and the Fostering Network are also calling for a national
    minimum allowance for the maintenance of children placed with local
    authority foster carers to be included in the Children Bill.

    They believe a minimum allowance of £108 a week would help
    turn around the massive shortage of foster carers nationwide and
    end the system that allows for “different allowances for foster
    carers depending on where they live”.

    – To join the web forum, go to ukfoster-adopt@yahoogroups.com

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