Social workers ‘pressure’ foster carers

Children|February 1st 2017

A significant minority of foster carers feel pressured and disrespected by social workers, a survey suggests.

Charity the Fostering Network polled 2,530 foster carers. Close to a third said they had been contacted by social workers about children outside the range of those they normally cared for. And of that third, three quarters said they received no special help with the youngsters they took on, while half said they had felt under pressure to accept them.

Fifty-eight per cent complained that their carer’s allowance did not cover their costs, and more than 30 per cent believed social workers rarely gave them all relevant information about a particular child when they agreed to take them on.

One foster carer told the Network:

“Many social workers, particularly the child’s team, often afford us no respect whatsoever… it’s something that needs improving.”

The charity’s chief executive, Kevin Williams, said the findings suggested that foster carers were seen as being “at the bottom of the decision making around children” and “not treated as professionals”.

Read the report, entitled State of the Nation’s Foster Care 2016, here.

Photo by kgbbristol via Flickr

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  1. Debbie Hunter says:

    We have known this for year and all seams to be coming out just lately. I really hope things change in the world of Fostering.I am going through an allegation that is making me really feel ill. and made to feel like I am some sort of cruel child abuser I have had no support at all from the LA or fostering company as for years I have felt that fostering companies are frightened to upset the LA in fear oft getting placements.
    We are treated like the lowest of the low and not given the information we should be given. We have even been told not to pass on information to other carers and perspective new adopted parents in case they won’t accept the child.
    When we started fostering we were told we are professionals they certainly don not treat you as professionals . and when recruiting Allegations are not talked about.

  2. Kirsten Gronning says:

    As a foster carer and officer of the Foster Care Workers’ Union I respect the work The Fostering Network do, but also acknowledge that so long as a large amount of their funding comes from Local Authorities and Independent Fostering Agencies they may be a little muted in how loudly they declare how unfairly foster carers are treated. But the State of the Nations’ Foster Care Report 2016 says loud and clear::

    ‘…only 55 per cent would definitely recommend fostering to others. The findings indicate there is dissatisfaction with the system….’

    ‘Recommendations: The governments of the UK should each create a register (a centrally held list) of approved foster carers to improve safeguarding, increase portability of the workforce, create a
    standardised pre- and post-approval training framework and improve the status of foster carers.’

    42% of foster carers felt their allowance met the full cost of looking after fostered children – compared to 80 per ‘cent in 2014’

    ‘ 61 per cent of foster carers who had experienced a placement ending said it had not been preceded by a review’

    ’52 per cent of those who had taken children from outside their approval range had felt pressured into it’

    And much more….all issues the Union is undertaking with its main aims to:

    • Pass legislation to augment and protect foster care workers’ rights.
    • Create a central, independent register of foster carers.
    • Develop support for our members.

    We certainly all need to come together now and fight for long overdue changes which will sustain fostering and ultimately improve the outcomes of children in care.

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