The future of the government’s ‘Staying Put’ scheme for care leavers is at risk due to funding cuts, a fostering organisation has claimed.
Staying Put provides additional funding for children living with foster families, enabling them to stay with them until the age of 21 as long the family is willing. But, in a new report entitled Moving On Staying Put, the Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers says the scheme requires more than the £40 million funding currently set aside for it, thanks to other cuts across children’s services. As a result, continuing to look after children beyond their 18th birthdays is too expensive for some foster carers.
Foster parents interviewed for the report had “universally” agreed that the government had not adequately funded Staying Put.
One carer interviewed told the Association:
“I can’t afford to keep my 17-year-old past 18 as fostering is my income and I will be expected to take a £300 a week cut if my placement ‘stays put’.”
Another admitted that economic restrictions had had a major impact on the life of a teenager they had fostered.
“If I was offered a reasonable amount, then I would have loved to have to have kept the child on. As a result of him not being able to stay, he made a quick decline shortly after leaving my care.”
Read the report here.
Photo by eirasinn via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence