A BBC report has highlighted the prevalence of ‘golden hellos’ offered to local authority foster carers by large commercial profit-making agencies to transfer.
Whilst FCC fully supports the banning of these pay-outs, we need to be clear that companies offering these incentives are in fact commercial profit-making fostering organisations, rather than a number of ethical, not-for-profit fostering agencies that exist in the UK.
Fostering Through Social Enterprise (FTSE), which represents charitable and not-for-profit fostering agencies, met in January to agree on a new term to describe its members: NFP Fostering Providers (not-for-profit fostering providers). There was a general frustration amongst members that all independent fostering providers were being ‘tarred with the same brush’.
It is extremely important that local authorities, as well as the general public, recognise that NFP Fostering Providers plough surplus income after office and support expenses, back into providing more support for their carers and children. By doing so, these organisations are able to offer more support and more training – which can only benefit the children placed within these agencies.
FCC would also like to echo the point made by Harvey Gallagher, chief executive of the Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers, that the calculations for the cost of foster care within local authorities does not include the additional running costs faced by independent providers. FCC cannot speak for other organisations, but as a not-for-profit provider with a clear ethical approach to fostering, operating costs are minimal.
The full report can be read here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-36975478