One of the UK’s largest fostering charities has insisted that it does not offer council-trained carers ‘golden hellos’.
A recent BBC report suggested that foster carers are offered financial incentives of up to £3,000 to sign on with private fostering agencies after their training has been funded by their local councils.
The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) described the practice as “immoral and wrong”.
But, in a newly released statement, Fostering Network director Kevin Williams declared:
“We do not believe, and we have no evidence to suggest, that golden hellos will be a significant incentive for many foster carers.”
The majority prefer meaningful ongoing support “throughout their fostering career”.
The Network has defined ‘transfer protocols’, Mr Williams explained, setting out rules for the movement of carers between fostering services. Carers had the same right to move from one service to another as any other childcare professional, he said.
“However, the protocols make clear that the welfare of children should always be the determining factor governing freedom of movement.”
Providers must not entice carers in “unethical manner”, the protocols state, nor must they do so in a way that affects “placement stability for a child”.
The Chief Executive continued:
“We know from our surveys of foster carers and the values work that we have undertaken that financial motivation is low on the list for most foster carers.”