Hunter to contest minimum allowance

Plans for a national minimum allowance for foster carers are to be
challenged by the Association of Directors of Social Services.

President Tony Hunter said the proposal, expected to be passed as
an amendment to the Children Bill in the House of Commons as
Community Care went to press, needed to be “thrashed” out

Hunter agreed with the principle, but he would challenge what the
allowance, estimated at £105 a week, was expected to cover.

“The foster care market is very delicate and local authorities can
ill afford any additional inflationary pressures,” he said.

If passed, the new clause, tabled by education secretary Charles
Clarke, would introduce a legal requirement for councils to pay
enough money to carers to cover the basic cost of looking after a
child. Some carers receive only £50 a week.

Meanwhile, a new clause to ban smacking, tabled by David
Hinchliffe, looks doomed because the government has forbidden
Labour MPs from voting in support of a total ban.

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