Unless you are one, it’s unlikely you have much grasp of the demands and stresses placed on a group of people who provide one of our society’s most essential services: foster-carers.
It’s also unlikely you will be aware that foster-carers have none of the protections afforded to people in ‘normal’ employment: no holiday pay, sick pay, access to pension schemes or employment tribunals – just the burdens and responsibilities that come with caring, in many cases, for some of our most challenging children and young people.
A petition to right that wrong has been launched by the Foster Care Workers Union to raise awareness of and rectify the injustice.
A fostering activist told the SKWAWKBOX:
In the UK, fostering gained legal standing in 1926. But while dependence on the fostering resource has increased substantially, the placements in children’s homes have diminished.
The vast majority of ‘looked-after children’ (LAC) – approximately 75% – are fostered and Local Authorities (LA) collectively spend £1.7 billion in 2016-17 providing this service.
On 31 March 2017 53,420 LAC were placed with foster carers (FC) and there were approximately 78,000 placements (Education Committee, First Report, 2017-2019).
About 67%, (29,720) fostering households were enlisted with LA and the remaining 14,595 fostering households were registered with independent agencies (Narey & Owers, 2018).
Children are being taken into care in record numbers. However, it is estimated that there is a currently a UK wide shortage of over 7,000 FC (Fostering Network, 2018).
Approximately 65% of the LAC have suffered a single form or mixed categories of abuse (Narey & Owers, 2018). Studies of LAC have reliably discovered high presentations of psychosocial maladjustment and emotional/behavioral disorders (Ottaway & Selwyn, 2017). Considering the experiences of LAC, it is not surprising that FC can be a stressful, demanding hugely complex role.
The people who provide this service are hugely important to the young people they care for and to our society – but society is not looking after them.
Please sign and share this vital petition to help them.
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