Cuts to housing benefits making it difficult to foster
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.
Introduction The National Statement of Expectations for Supported Housing (NSE) was finally published on 20 October 2020, five years after the 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review suggested regulatory and oversight changes were needed, although in 2018 the government >>>
"Coventry Mind has recently worked through a programme of Housing Benefit optimisation with Support Solutions and in particular their specialist Danny Key. Throughout the whole process Danny demonstrated that he has excellent knowledge of the subject and was able to put forward a convincing case for the increase in funding to the Housing Benefit team. Coventry Mind has already and will continue to recommend Support Solutions and in particular this service to other organisations."
Steven Hill - Director of Central Services