Fostering Network urges government to protect under-funded services in emergency Budget

The government is being urged to protect already “drastically under-funded” fostering services in next week’s emergency Budget.

In a new report released by the Fostering Network and Loughborough University called Update to the Cost of Foster Care, it is claimed an extra £580m is already needed to properly fund fostering.

Any further reduction in funding in next week’s Budget would make the system “unsustainable”, says the report.

The Fostering Network adds that the recent removal of ringfencing for much of councils’ budgets is also leaving fostering vulnerable to cuts.

Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network, said: “Services for children in care have been under-funded for too many years and to make cuts will mean a foster care system already struggling will become unsustainable and unable to cope.
“When foster care works, it works really well, and outcomes are improving. However, children in care are still over-represented in prison populations, more likely to suffer from mental health problems or be homeless. Failure to maintain funds and invest in good-quality foster care is a false economy.”

The report has been welcomed by John Kemmis, chief executive of Voice, who said: “When the government is looking for cuts, it should honour previous commitments to treat children in care as they would their own children.”