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Scotland's foster children need more help

The Fostering Network has issued a warning to the Scottish Government that foster children in Scotland are being let down by a lack of proper financial support.


All foster carers receive a weekly allowance which is designed to cover the costs of caring for a fostered child, from clothing to food and toys to books, and does not include any form of remuneration for the foster carer’s time, skills and experience.

The Fostering Network’s recommended minimum allowances start at around £130 per week and increase with the age of the child, and are largely accepted as the benchmark for the costs incurred as the result of fostering.

A survey of 32 local authorities in Scotland, carried out by the charity in late 2011, found that foster carers in just ten of these received the Fostering Network’s minimum recommended rates or more in 2011-12. Some foster carers in Scotland received as little as £72 per week, with differences of more than £100 per week between local authorities.

As a result, fostered children across much of Scotland are either missing out on having their basic needs catered for or foster carers are subsidising the state. This is particularly damaging at a time when more children than ever are being fostered in Scotland and over 1,000 more foster families are needed in 2012 alone.

Sara Lurie, director of the Fostering Network in Scotland, said: “Many children in care in Scotland are currently among the worst off in the UK. There is no reason why Scotland is lagging behind when it comes to ensuring their needs are met and foster carers have their costs covered. No foster carer should have to pay out of their own pocket to make sure fostered children get the essentials they need.

“The minister for children and young people wants to improve fostering and recognises the vital work foster carers do and we will be raising this issue with her as a matter of urgency. The Government must act now and introduce statutory minimum allowances for fostered children.”


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