Cuts to housing benefits making it difficult to foster
- 08 Nov
Government cuts to benefits and disincentives are discouraging foster parents from taking in children.
Lisa Nandy MP said that despite a desperate need for carers across the country, state changes to Housing Benefit was making it more difficult to foster.
It has been estimated that fostering services need to recruit a further 7,100 foster families in the next 12 months to keep up with the growing number of children in need of a home.
At a time when the numbers of children in the care of the state are at a 15-year high, the Shadow Children's Minister said:
I believe that foster carers need more and more consistent, support. For too long the system has been run on good will and provision widely varies between local authorities.
Ministers should be doing more to encourage foster carers to come forward and instead they are providing disincentives.
I am particularly concerned by the recent changes to Housing Benefit, which will mean that foster carers may lose their benefits as foster children ‘will not count' for the purposes of the spare bedroom tax.
Miss Nandy's growing concern follows a report produced by the Fostering Network about how the failure of foster carers to make day-to-day decisions for the children in their care is denying these children a full and proper experience of childhood.
It has been revealed that one in five foster parents are not allowed to decide if a child can get their haircut and a third of foster parents cannot give permission for a child to stay over with a friend.
Robert Tapsfield, chief executive at the Fostering Network, said:
The system trusts foster carers to provide some very vulnerable children with a safe and stable home, but it doesn't trust them to get their hair cut.
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Responding to the DWP Consultation: Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "It was well-run, in a good location, and very useful. I've only one suggestion; as the session went on it would perhaps have been useful for bullet points of general agreement about what should be in the sector response to be displayed and added to as the session went on, maybe on a flip chart. Regarding your response paper, I particularly like the answer you give to question 9. In fact the general: "if it ain't broke don't fix it" response could be pushed harder." M.P. - Adref Ltd