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Any more foster carers out there who feel exploited, unrepresented etc?

Are you struggling to make ends meet because of inadequate allowances/payments?.

 

Do you feel you are subsidising local government by having to pay out your cash to look after "their" children and young people?

 

We are trying to start a campaign to get a better deal for foster carers and would be grateful of any input.

 

Mr and Mrs P

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An example of what we mean. This is an email sent recently to the TUC amongst others including G BROWN, E BALLS, D CAMERON and numerous so-called campaigning journalists.

 

Hello

I find myself compelled to contact you re. conversations held with our supervising Social Worker yesterday!

We work for an Agency, and receive £367 per child per week, 30% of which is my “wages”. We look after teenagers, 15 year old lad & 17 year old mother and baby, both of whom eat more than either me or my husband, constantly leave lights on, cd players on etc! With the current financial climate I asked where the increase in utility bills, food, travel etc should come from? There was no answer, other than “my pocket” – i.e. my measly £11500 per annum, WHEN we have placements all year round (which we never do!), or reduce our very high standards (especially food and heating) to counteract the massive increase in bills!! I thought that child’s welfare always came first?

Personally, I think the amount paid by the authority should take this hike in prices, not lowering standards or using my already ludicrously low income (way below the minimum wage!). I love my job and take great pride in how we have managed to change the lives of many youngsters, but cannot afford to be a charity! We have no problem in paying for the increases in OUR outgoings, but will find it impossible to budget for the increase in the youngsters’ usage. Should my daughter at university have her monies from us reduced in order to pay for the massive increases in everything for someone elses children? A very dangerous issue!

I was livid to be told “well, perhaps you need to think about your commitment to the job?” Would a Social Worker, working in a children’s’ home be expected to foot the hike in gas, electric, fuel food etc? I don’t think so!! The authorities would simply “up the budgets” – what is the difference between what we do and what they do? I am absolutely furious with this attitude! If prices continue to rise so fast with no additional help, our home will be at risk. I am told I am not able to take another job, except when we have no placements and then I am expected to do “some temping”, and my husband works for minimum wage – what do we do? I really feel like just packing it all in but my commitment to the long-tern lad in our care would never let me do that!

When are the TUC going to start to fight for the rights of foster carers?, after all, the unions would gain a lot of new members.

Thanks for listening to my rant!

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So far only one has replied !

 

Hi XXXXX

 

Thanks for this. I was not aware of any of these issues. I will pass them on to my colleagues at Congress House in London who deal with social policy matters and who can bring them to the attention of Brendan Barber our General Secretary.

 

 

You are of course entitled to join a union of your choice but generally the role of the union is to engage with an employer. I see the points that you make however and you perhaps need more of an advocate than anything else. However there may be unions that I am unaware of that do already organise fosterers. Again I will forward this as a query to my colleagues in London.

 

 

Please keep up your great work and committment. The work that you do is an inspiration and provides hope and a chance for many vulnerable young people.

 

 

With very best wishes

 

 

Roger McKenzie

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I am not trying to be imflamatory but I dont really understand your point - £367 for all three or just the 17 and 15 year old? £110 goes to you and the rest goes for the children. I think that £250 per week for a 17 and 15 year old is a fairly decent amount of money for two teenagers, and adequate for their needs.

 

This is more of a decision of teaching money ethics to your charges, and doing exactly what every family is doing at the moment and tightening their belts in the present economic. The same with your daughter at Uni, she is an adult and can contribute to her economic situation. It is a team effort.

 

Very few peoples wages have gone up in the present climate - I understand what you do is invaluable and wonderful work, but it is the career that you choose to do.

 

Please do not think that I am disrespecting you in any way as I am not but we all have to deal with these issues.

 

SFx

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I am not trying to be imflamatory but I dont really understand your point - £367 for all three or just the 17 and 15 year old? £110 goes to you and the rest goes for the children. I think that £250 per week for a 17 and 15 year old is a fairly decent amount of money for two teenagers, and adequate for their needs.

 

This is more of a decision of teaching money ethics to your charges, and doing exactly what every family is doing at the moment and tightening their belts in the present economic. The same with your daughter at Uni, she is an adult and can contribute to her economic situation. It is a team effort.

 

Very few peoples wages have gone up in the present climate - I understand what you do is invaluable and wonderful work, but it is the career that you choose to do.

 

Please do not think that I am disrespecting you in any way as I am not but we all have to deal with these issues.

 

SFx

 

 

Are you a foster carer? I doubt it !

If you were, you would understand the points made and perhaps feel differently.

Check out the Fostering Networks website and the article Can't afford to Foster.

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No but I am a mother of two - who receives very little maintanance from my ex-husband and works extremely hard to support my girls. I have though had experiance of the system when I was younger some eons ago!

 

I am also very good friends with a foster carer, who has ended up adopting 10 of the children she fostered.

 

I dont want to start a battle but was genuinly interested in wht you are saying

 

SFx

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How did your friend pay for the upkeep of these children?

Do you know it costs far more to care for a "looked after child" than one of your own?

Do you know that in some cases adopters are paid to adopt children?

etc etc etc.

Please find out a lot more and then discuss, you never know you may wish to join us.

 

PS

The government have brought in new compulsory training for all foster carers, but still refuse them employment rights, a proper wage, paid holidays etc.

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Sorry but I thought that foster carers do it because they have a genuine care for the children not as a job, have I got it wrong?

I agree that a foster carer should not be out of pocket but to treat it as a job I find somehow strange.

If my comments have been helpful please click my scales

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Sorry but I thought that foster carers do it because they have a genuine care for the children not as a job, have I got it wrong?

 

I agree that a foster carer should not be out of pocket but to treat it as a job I find somehow strange.

 

Things are changing dramatically with regards to Fostering. Our Government wants Fostering to be more professional - we need to be seen to be studying (BTEC, NVQ's etc) and, as in my case, I am NOT ALLOWED to have another means of earning an income - I have to be at home to provide 24 hour care to my wards (except when we have no children with us and then I am supposed to rush out and find a little job to "fill in time"! Almost impossible to find, especially as you are expected to then drop that job when you are needed to care for someone!!)

We do the job because we care, but are refused the employment rights others enjoy. I still have to pay a hefty mortgage, huge bills, like everyone else, and therefore need a steady, reasonable income in order to be able to do that.

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Phatram - having been adopted twice Ithink that I am actaully in quite a good position to discuss adoption/fostering etc.

 

She looked after her children with her allowance from Social Services and from her husbands job - I have never enquired on how much she recieved, she was most definatley not paid to adopt them and I find that increadibly insulting that you even suggested that I have known many of the children that she has fostered on top of those that she has adopted.

 

No I would never wish to be a foster carer, not for any other reason that I would not be capable of doing such a hard job.

 

We all have issues with our jobs that we feel is unjust unfair etc, but if it gives you happiness then surely that equals it out.

 

I cannot for the life of me see how the upkeep of a foster child can significantly more than that of a natural child.

 

SFx

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With all due response to fosters, do we really want fostering to become more "professional"/

 

Our existing professional caring institutions (children homes, care homes and so on) really don't have a good track record. The figure you give sounds somewhat higher than it costs to keep people in care.

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My understanding of the fees and allowances that foster carers receive is that it is to support the carers to integrate the child into family life. Part of the allowance for a child is to contribute towards household bills to provide a home for the child. The allowance is divided into sections to provide such things as pocket money, clothing etc. An additional amount is paid for holidays, festivals (xmas, birthdays) and special needs (which could be as simple as a guitar lesson at school). The fostering fee which is tax free is the carers income, and can be supplemented by working tax credits. Foster carers also get at least 2 weeks paid respite per year.

 

In what respect does a looked after child, cost more than any other child in the family home?

 

An example of payment structuring here

 

To say that a residential social worker does not have to pay the extra heat and light is irrelevant, as a social worker does not get paid per child, but is paid to manage a caseload, or in the case of residential care to look after several children, for an hourly rate. Budgets are the responsibility of the unit manager, in much the same way as they are the responsibility of the householder albeit on a different scale. Rules and boundaries should exist in the family home as well as in a residential home.

 

A level of increased professionalism has been brought into fostering and most carers welcome the chance to further their knowledge and skills to aid them in caring and communicating with some of the most vulnerable and marginalised children in our society. Continuing professional development is not unique to foster carers, and is something that even the smallest companies promote for employees.

 

I beleive some local authorites do pay a yearly allowance to carers who adopt, but to put it in perspective, I belive it is around £3k per year, and not a major incentive to take on a life time commitment of a child.

 

Foster carers do a fantastic job and are an essential part of providing long and short term security for a child, so that they can mature into contributing well balanced adults, it is however a job of choice, and anyone who goes into social care purely for the fianancial rewards will be disappointed.

Consumer Health Forums - where you can discuss any health or relationship matters.

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Foster carers do a fantastic job and are an essential part of providing long and short term security for a child, so that they can mature into contributing well balanced adults, it is however a job of choice, and anyone who goes into social care purely for the financial rewards will be disappointed.

 

I agree with what you said it is a job of choice and also very rewarding for people who take on the responsibilities of foster care regardless of payment for doing it.

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Also the BAAF report into the cost of foster care backs up what we are saying.

We respectfully suggest some of you should read it and then comment.

As for Gizmo's link, I can assure you that paid holidays to take a break from fostering is not the norm.A lot of carers are expected to take their "work" away with them, without any holiday pay.

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I agree with what you said it is a job of choice and also very rewarding for people who take on the responsibilities of foster care regardless of payment for doing it.

 

 

Isn't every job a job of choice?

Doesn't everyone expect to be paid properly for doing that job?

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You still have not explained how a foster child is more expensive than one of your own - and why having a foster child changes the economics of a family and the rules that apply when monies are tight.

 

SFx

See post 15

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The link you quote seems to give a maximum (recommended minimum) of about £200 for a child, yet you say you are already getting £367 per child - that seems to be well above their figures.

 

Even so I would say that £200 pppw is well above the marginal cost of a child (although it does depend on whether you factor extra housing costs into it). That makes a total of £10K per child per year, so a family of 4 children would need £40K pa take home pay just to cover the costs of the kids, then include 2 adults and you are looking at £60K take home - that equates to a salary of over £100K.

 

What I am trying to say is that you need to do more to explain why £360 pppw is insufficient because on the surface of it it seems generous.

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Your original post staes that you are campainging for more monies due to the increase in the cost of living - everyone is having to cut back on luxuries or find alternatives at the moemnt why should it be so different for foster carers.

 

I would dearly love to take my girls to Disneyland florida but sadly it will be camping in Norfolk again for us and I can also take two of their friends with us

 

SFx

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Your original post staes that you are campainging for more monies due to the increase in the cost of living - everyone is having to cut back on luxuries or find alternatives at the moemnt why should it be so different for foster carers.

 

I would dearly love to take my girls to Disneyland florida but sadly it will be camping in Norfolk again for us and I can also take two of their friends with us

 

SFx

Simply because they are not OUR children, they ARE the responsibility of the local authority.

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I am truly truly shocked by that reply to the point I am not sure that I can coherently reply.

 

They ARE children, they HAVE had a tough time, we all have a responsability to the children that we come into contact with however short or long.

 

Surely a normal family life is what they need and what you can provide, families are about the good and the bad, the rough and the smooth, I feel very uncomfortable that you wish to have a "family" holiday without the foster kids - what does that say to them?

 

I am sure that you are very caring and a great foster parent, and that those you helped have trust back, but I am just not understanding some of your reasonings.

 

SFx

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I think I will let my wife answer that one as your reply more than shocks me.

The attitude of people who are not at the sharp end really is one I find very worrying.

I'm all right jack eh?

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