February 9, 2021
Our director, Jane Collins, has been successfully supporting foster carers around the UK for a number of years now. Through this work Jane realised, like so many others, that a major overhaul is needed. Due to a lack of rights and protection and a shocking disregard for existing legislation foster carers are mistreated on a regular basis leading to a lack of affordable local foster homes for children and shockingly poor outcomes. In a report published in the guardian (Nov 2020), the Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield has been quoted to say “The truth is while the state can be a great parent, it can also be a really bad one. In fact, sometimes so negligent that it would risk having its children taken into care if it was an actual parent.”
Jane has given several hard-hitting speeches in Parliament to MPs and barristers aiming to secure a bill for change bringing in rights and protection. Alongside this Jane began researching legislation looking for a way to make quick legislative changes to improve foster carer retention and outcomes for children in care and she found a way. Jane found the legislation which permitted changes to National Minimum Standards for Fostering to be made by the appropriate Minister without the need for a full parliamentary process and prepared a report detailing a host of changes which would improve outcomes for foster carers and the children in their care.
In November 2020 Jane brought foster carers from around the country together via online Zoom meetings and together they agreed their vision for change. A well-researched and comprehensive report was prepared which included input from children’s rights organisations and research from fostering service providers. This report was then sent to MPs around the country by FosterSupport members and to the Children’s Minister, Vicky Ford MP. The report was well received by MPs and this week Jane received a detailed two page response from Vicky Ford MP who had clearly taken the time to read the report and provide a substantive and supportive response to foster carers around the country.
This is a truly historic moment for foster carers. We have self-organised and made our own highly professional well researched proposals for change and our voices have been heard at the highest level of Government. We campaigned under the hashtag #HearOurVoice. We can tell you today that they did hear us, they are listening and in agreement with our concerns and our proposals for “refreshing National Minimum Standards”.
Congratulations to everyone who took part in our campaign. We did it. Together.