Caring for children who experienced trauma is not easy and those who care for them need support and legal protection
There are over 9,000 foster children in need of warm loving homes, but not enough carers to provide homes for the most vulnerable children in our society. It is important to address the status of a foster carer in addressing this shortage.
Foster carers don’t have a contract from their respective Local Authority, instead they have an agreement which establishes the fees and expenses.
Carers don’t seem to have any employment rights nor do they have a workers status. There are other issues like no holiday pay or sick pay and no entitlement to minimum wage. There are some carers where money doesn’t matter too much but for those who solely rely on these payments, it is important to have these issues addressed.
Carers are extensively monitored, they have to keep detailed records. They have little natural or spontaneous authority in looking after the child’s needs. They are essentially the children of the local authority. Anything you do which concerns the child you have to have it authorised by the Local Authority, things such as haircuts, medicine, and sleepovers. All of this has to be cleared by the social worker.
Caring for children who have endured trauma or neglect is difficult as it involves coping with tears, tantrums and violence.
The role can be very under appreciated. Look at the story of the Christian girl who was placed with a Muslim foster family in tower hamlets. The family opened their home to a desperate child to look after her were reduced to a derogatory narrative. Stories like these don’t exactly help when it comes to recruiting foster carers.
In conclusion, it is important that there is some kind of rights established for foster carers such as employment rights. Foster carers should also be given a recognised status.