Focusing on Fostering
55,200 children and young people are currently living with foster families in England (Department for Education, November 2018), but there has been a drastic call across the sector for over 7,200 new foster families in just England alone. (The fostering network, May 2019). These statistics have led to one big question being asked throughout the sector: Are the number of children needing placements increasing or are the number of foster families staying within the sector decreasing? The answer to one of the biggest questions within the sector was revealed recently by research conducted by the Department of Education and OFSTED.
The results have shockingly demonstrated to the sector that a combination of both has led us to this urgent call for new foster families.
Within the last year, there has been an increase of over 1,000 children and young people in desperate need of a foster placement, with a startling result identifying that the number of new-borns in dire need of temporary and permanent placements have doubled in the last year.
Being a foster carer allows you to make a real difference to a child or young person’s life and every foster carer has mentioned that fostering is the most rewarding thing they have ever done. So why is there a reduction in the number of foster carers staying within the sector? A report carried out by The Fostering Network has identified that foster carers absolutely love what they do, but due to a severe crisis in funding in the social care sector, foster carers feel there has been a reduction in finances, training and support, leading to them being unable to continue doing the work they adore.
It is no secret that the social care system is currently at ‘crisis point’, with Local Councils significantly reducing children’s social care budgets. Recent research has shockingly identified that since 2011, there has been a £700 million drop in funding across the social care sector.
However, despite these funding cuts, the results from this article have led to a surreal push in the stability of foster carers across the UK. Both Independent fostering agencies and Local Authorities have launched a drastic campaign across the country, which has seen agencies and local authorities such as Salford and Telford potentially offering a pay rise of up to 40% of foster carers.
In addition to this, there has been a huge demand for highly skilled and experienced candidates, who specialise in the fostering sector. These candidates will assist in easing the caseload of employees, allowing them to provide more training and support to each foster carer.
This research has ignited serious changes across the sector. Although there is still a huge demand across the country for foster carers, the whole sector has united and the future for the fostering sector is looking brighter each day.
If you are looking to appoint the right people to add value to your agency/local authority, then please do get in touch with the Fostering team at Gilbert Meher, who specialise in recruiting highly skilled and motivated individuals who have a huge passion for the fostering sector.
Author: Zoe McCartney -Business Consultant, Children’s Services