There is a crisis in fostering, with 10,000 new foster carers needed. Rather than putting resources into recruiting, training and developing new foster carers, some agencies and local authorities prefer to spend this money incentivising existing foster carers to transfer.
A recent report by Association of Directors of Children’s Services describes this practice as immoral, and we agree.
Greater London Fostering and myself believe that these one of payments represent a loss to the fostering community, and whole heartedly promise never to pay them and encourage other independent agencies and local authorities to stop encouraging foster carers to transfer..
We however believe that a foster carer has the right to work for whoever they want to, and should be free to transfer, however, this should be down to the level of support they receive, and the relationships they have, rather than a short term financial motivation.
The ADCS report was thin on criticism against local authorities. In my experience, there is often pressure applied to our foster carers from local authorities, with vague threats of children being removed, or support not given unless they transfer.
I think this practice is as immoral, as golden hellos, and call for la’s to also promise not to poach foster carers from independent agencies.
At the end of the day, we should be putting all our efforts into recruiting new foster carers, rather than wasting money on the carer transfer merry- go – round.
Richard Norwood, Director Greater London Fostering