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Comment on financial incentives paid to foster carers by local...

Edwina Grant OBE, Chair of the ADCS Health, Care and Additional Needs Policy Committee, said:

“We need many more carers to provide loving, stable homes for a growing number of children and young people in our care. Despite the current pressure on budgets, local authorities continue to invest in recruitment campaigns to encourage people to open their hearts and homes to children who need it. Some local authorities may also offer financial incentives to widen their local pool of carers, alongside other benefits such as leisure passes. The most important thing to consider is whether we have enough high quality carers who are motivated by improving children’s lives. The process for approving foster carers is rigorous and these processes are regularly reviewed. All of the foster carers I speak to want to foster so they can change a child’s life.

“The practice of offering financial incentives is increasingly becoming the norm and will overtime boost in-house provision and reduce costs in the longer term, as such it’s likely that more local areas will follow suit. These decisions are taken locally and we believe it would be unhelpful to introduce a national level of incentive fee which would risk driving up costs in areas where a financial incentive isn’t already offered. Instead, we urgently need a national recruitment and retention campaign, that is centrally funded, to ensure the right foster home is available at the right time, for every child.

“We hope the CMA’s study and the national review into children’s social care will address the concerns we have been raising for many years, including the shortage of appropriate placements.”


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