Miserly allowances

What planet does the Department for Education and Skills live on? Its proposal for a new national minimum fostering allowance should have been good news. But the figures it is suggesting – from £99 a week for babies rising to £112 weekly for over-11s – is just derisory. Have these people ever tried feeding and clothing a teenager?

The consultation document outlining the plan claims the government “values and respects the inspiring contribution” made by foster carers. Shame it doesn’t value them enough to recompense them properly for their enormous contribution and sacrifices.

Apparently ministers are keen to emphasise they do not expect any fostering service to cut its allowances in response to the setting up of the new national minimum. Just as well they made that clear as the new rates are lower than those many foster carers receive at the moment. Regional variations mean some get as little as £50 a week, which is a real scandal.

There is a desperate shortage of foster carers and the laws of supply and demand would suggest that a significant hike in allowances is needed to attract people to fostering. Unless the government is prepared to face up to this fact then vulnerable children will continue to be shunted around in search of a suitable placement.

See Charity slams proposed allowances

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