Foster carers ‘unable to pay the bills’

Children|June 3rd 2017

Many foster carers are “unable to afford to pay basic bills” due to a lack of government funding, a campaign group has claimed.

The problem lies in the ‘Staying Put’ scheme, according to the Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers (NAFP). This programme was designed to allow children in care to remain with their foster parents until they turn 21, if the family is willing.

However local authorities cannot provide enough money to support those who allow their foster children to stay with them. In fact, the NAFP believes many carers are being pushed towards poverty.

This is not the first time the NAFP have drawn attention to the financial problems with the scheme. In 2015 they insisted that it would take more than the £40 million allocated to Staying Put to make it effective. This has since been increased to £44 million but the lack of support for carers has reportedly not been resolved.

Although the Conservative government has previously pledged a £22 million per year increase in the money available for Staying Put, the NAFP believes this was thrown into doubt when Prime Minister Theresa May called a general election.

Chief Executive Harvey Gallagher explained that many local authorities were “using housing benefit to support part of the Staying Put arrangement”. So when a young person claims such a benefit “their former foster carer becomes a landlord or landlady” he said. This creates “complications of bureaucracy and [changes] the nature of the relationship” between them.

Some foster carers will look after more than one child at a time. As they receive an income for this service, caring for several children is the primary source of income for many carers. However, for those who do not have room to take on others, the lack of funding is “putting an additional pressure on the household just when you want it to go smoothly” Gallagher told the Community Care news site.

Whoever wins the keys to 10 Downing Street after the election, the NAFP called on them to “bring up the lowest levels of support to something more manageable” for foster carers with older children.

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  1. Tracy says:

    Not quite the same but when I looked after my Grandchildren they drove me in to poverty. I was working and able to cover my bills and by the time they went in to fostercare I had nothing left. I was force to give up my job and they promised a regular payment to cover my loses but never got a single payment and then worried why I got depressed

  2. Sam says:

    I don’t see how this could be happening at £800 per week per child, and foster parents are supposed to help in what’s best for the children. But as a statement released recently by lord Brett Maclean nobody is branding foster carers with the same brush,as that wouldn’t be fair.. (unlike children’s services do with parents) the agenda seems to be money driven and not the children. Family friends who worked as foster parents for 40 years said the financial services were met generously. New cars,caravans owning.. so there’s something seriously happening with regards to the money side of it,and someone’s obviously not telling the truth.. in our experience the foster parents (the family friends ones) were not allowed to be produced as witnessed and statements never looked at..the local authorities asking for them not to be called or the police in that matter to tell the truth? But the foster parents involved, we had to work around there routine and one day a week only for contact and was allowed only 1 hour? We had to travel very far paying for taxis often getting there and no child or foster carers there? We would return in the same taxi.. we also supplied everything after first meeting baby at 3 months old,everything a baby needs was supplied except cot,and pray,car seat which they refused. She had clothing for months ahead of her age, we supplied 2 big packs of nappies and wet wipes,toys,dummies,presents etc. However we were told at 6 months old baby had to much and to stop buying,,,all her beautiful dresses and coats we had bought should last as all brand new and ahead of her age. We were told that foster parents couldn’t cope loading the car and unloading the car?? They never had to spend any money on the baby, the dad bought baby a bangle and was removed from her arm and local authorities said it had been misplaced? Again it wasn’t loose and wasn’t a hazard so why it was removed nobody knows,never to be seen again. (Engraved inside) we drove past the car when approaching the contact centre as they left, we were used to this by this time. We made complaints about this especially after seeing the first head injury and was denied medical treatment (because of medical records and life long story book) this was ignored..they were allowed to put baby’s dummy in there mouths,dad asked them not to,but never listened (dad boiled kettle,at contact centre) the babies bottles were always made up 1 bottle for 1 hour contact.. so dad wasn’t able to make bottles up for his own child. A trainee took the 15 minute waiting time off (before meeting baby had to sign a big contract between father and local authorities) at no time was a check done on foster parents before placement. Also when you have a child you fit into there routine and what’s best for the child,we all know that. We found it hard to understand why only 1 hour a week,and to choose out of two days they said,and the local authorities. It doesn’t matter if the parent can’t get there from work/training at that time, but to see the child of course came a warning and dismissed because the baby was of course important and didn’t want to miss that precious hour, they could possibly spare.. the baby always left crying.. but in reports baby was distressed in contact.. after the second injury we contacted the local authorities,child commissioner,police and told because its with the social services and family court (arena) they couldn’t investigate. Nothing on any papers once again and stopped contact after 15 minutes,when foster care started shouting at nan and dad after asking dates of her being admitted to hospital as there was never any records of this. Baby clenching her fits screaming as dad begged for shouting to stop. The male foster carer was physically escorted from the premises and was noted by staff and never made it to court.. was told to return to the centre for baby in 1 hour. had to stay in the room after they undone her little fingers from dads t-shirt after taking her teddy off her,hoping she would reach for it. (The teddy was a gift from dad) so many unanswered questions in many areas especially financially? But then removing 136 children from one part of the uk to another as not enough foster parents, so why still continue to take the large amount of numbers. They had a newborn,(no relation) and a 21 month old and 7 year old in there care.. nice brand new car and mentioned they own a caravan like many that they also rent out to families…sadly money seems to be a big part in this area,some saying pays well and others saying it doesn’t pay enough.

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