While national governments have acknowledged the additional pressures lockdown and the pandemic has had on foster carers, the responsibility for supporting and recognising foster carers in both a financial and practical sense has been firmly passed to local authorities. National governments have washed their hands of any obligation by citing the emergency funding which has been allocated to Local Authorities.
However, most of the examples of extra payments have occurred in England, where some of our carers have received single or recurring top ups, and we’ve heard almost no examples in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
On a very practical level, no foster carer should be left worse off because of the pandemic and we would advise members to track their expenditure. Speak to your social worker if there are new, additional or increased recurring costs during this time and ask if these can be submitted as expenses where top up payments have not been made.
As a matter of principle – at a time when our members are taking on the extra responsibilities of home-schooling and true 24/7 care, without access to respite, with children who often have complex emotional and sometimes physical needs – we believe foster carers are entitled to expect to be recognised and recompensed in a meaningful way, beyond the standard lip-service. It is not acceptable that national governments pass responsibility to local authorities who then refuse to provide top up payments to foster carers. We have been and will continue to lobby for our members to receive the recognition and financial recompense they have more than earned.