Foster care: a timely reminder from 2016 before the stocktake reported

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Foster care: a timely reminder from 2016 before the stocktake reported

Foster care in 2016

State of the Nation’s Foster Care 2016

Following the foster care stocktake and now the Government’s ‘Fostering Better Outcomes report’ –

just released – the controversy surrounding the provision of foster care does not look like abating anytime soon. How can we know this? “A huge disappointment and a wasted opportunity – The Fostering Network’s response to the Government’s Fostering Better Outcomes report.” Such a headline is indicative of the hardening of attitudes. Before examining in more detail the likely implications of the response from the country’s leading fostering charity, it is worth taking a backward look at the prevailing attitudes from only two years ago before the foster care stocktake was reported.

The state of foster care in 2016

The recently published ‘State of the Nation’s Foster Care’ 2016 report has drawn support from yet another major organisation in the fostering sector: Harvey Gallagher, the chief executive of the Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers has just added his voice to the general clamour, warning of the negative trends indicated in this report. These, he feels, could have a bearing upon the recruitment – has well as the retention – of foster carers. This, disturbingly, comes at a moment when the United Kingdom is struggling to deal with a with a shortfall of around 9,000 new foster families. It is to be fervently hoped that this report will foster a sense of urgency in government thinking and policy planning. His view:

“I commend The Fostering Network on their State of the Nation’s Foster Care 2016 report. It provides an excellent snapshot of what carers from across the UK, and from both local authorities and independent and voluntary sector fostering providers (IFPs), think about their role and how they are supported to do their very best for the children placed with them. The report is food for thought and begs further analysis and questioning.”

It was, at the time, heartening to observe influential figures pull no punches in their criticisms: Harvey Gallagher then went so far as to register dismay that the most basic costs of caring for a foster child seem not, in a great many instances, to be covered by fostering allowances. This has the consequence of a great many carers paying out of their own pockets, for essential items such as clothes and shoes. He warned that such a situation would mean “We’re in serious danger of stretching the good will of carers to breaking point and that could have dire consequences for children in care.”

Findings from report provide an insight into the differences between Independent Fostering Providers (IFPs) and local authorities as perceived by foster carers.

Harvey Gallagher has provided a timely snapshot of one significant aspect of fostering taken from ‘State of the Nation’s Foster Care’ 2016. It calibrates certain differences between foster carers fostering for independent fostering providers (IFPs) and those who foster for local authorities:

  • carers who foster for IFPs (63%) were more likely to recommend fostering to others – as compared to those providing care for LAs (54%);
  • carers who were fostering for IFPs (40%) were less likely to miss training opportunities than foster carers fostering for LAs (50%);
  • views expressed relating to the kind of support available were generally more positive from foster carers fostering for IFPs, compared to carers fostering for local authorities: carers transferring from local authorities to IFPs gave reasons moving which included the perception there would be better training and support. Interestingly, foster carers who moved from Independent Fostering Providers to local authorities, did so with the expectation they would get more placement referrals;
  • the report also highlighted some carers felt a degree of discomfort working for IFPs as they were businesses engaged in making a profit;
  • it emerged people fostering drawn from black and minority ethnic groups  – particularly black Caribbean carers  – were more likely to be fostering for IFPs;
  • carers fostering through IFPs were more likely to receive additional background information concerning a child before the placement was made, as compared to those offering foster care for a local authority;
  • another finding was that 52% of foster carers felt they had been pressured into accepting children from outside their approval range. This effect was more prevalent amongst local authority  carers compared to carers fostering for IFPs;
  • the report found that marginally more Muslim carers were employed by IFPs as compared to those working for local authorities.

What should satisfy and encourage everyone working for IFPs is the sentiment expressed by Harvey Gallagher, that the report revealed a picture of an “independent and voluntary fostering sector that supports its  carers well.” And going further, he expressed the view that this situation was supported by the Ofsted findings.

The judgement from Ofsted was that 85% of IFPs were found to be good or outstanding – with only 1% being classed inadequate. To make a relative performance comparison between IFPs and local authorities is not a possibility as local authorities are not subject to inspection by Ofsted.

Are you the kind of person that might consider fostering is for you?

Yes, then we think that’s excellent news: we would like very much to send you a comprehensive information pack. This will describe in very much more detail what it is like to be carer. But first, we’d like you to call us for a simple chat so we can understand what your motivations for becoming a  carer might be. We are on hand to give you plenty of advice – and you’ll get a thorough understanding of what joining Team Rainbow will be like. We will, as part of the training Rainbow fostering provide, enable you to meet with some of our  carers.  they will be able to tell you what foster care is all about.

We can be reached on 020 8427 3355, or our National inquiry line 0330 311 2845.

All blogs written by Will Saunders: Rainbow Fostering – Content Management/Marketing

Access the stories that matter foster care news at –

Foster care charity hugely disappointed by government response

23rd July, 2018

The Westminster Government has; in its response to the foster care stocktake, disappointed The Fostering Network

The good news at the end of the is foster care Rainbow:

We continue to receive entries for our summer reading review competition…keep them coming!

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