Recently the Government made an announcement about a bundle of support in England for vulnerable households. Fostering Recruitment invites the additional ₤ 302 million to develop brand-new Family Hubs in England and advises those local authorities carrying out the Hubs to ensure that they supply early intervention to those kids in foster care who require it, alongside their peers. We would, however, wish to see a universal deal of early intervention assistance across the nation, rather than a minimal deal just consisting of 75 local authorities.
The ₤ 172 million announced to support care leavers – including ₤ 99.8 million for Staying Put; the scheme enabling young people to stay within foster care post-18 – shows a continuation of existing programmes, rather than brand-new measures to increase support for care leavers. Although we are delighted that Staying Put has a three-year funding settlement, enabling fostering services to prepare accordingly, we are dissatisfied that the approach for uprating the grant stays the exact same as in previous years and has actually not taken into consideration the current expense of living issues.
It has been well recorded that this year, all households are dealing with unmatched increases in their expense of living. This month, inflation is set to peak at around 8 per cent, energy rate caps will leap, and National Insurance contributions increase. In 2020/21 extra financing was provided to handle the challenges of Covid, numerous of which still stay, yet the extra funding does not. This is especially frustrating thinking about the findings of our State of the Nation 2021 study, with 77 percent of foster carers in England saying they experienced a drop in income as an outcome of supporting a Staying Put plan. Foster carers in England were more most likely to experience a drop in financial assistance when supporting a young individual post-18 than elsewhere in the UK. The lack of financial assistance readily available has a destructive influence on the number of young individuals able to benefit from residing in a nurturing family environment until age 21.
Our suggestion is that national minimum allowances need to be presented across the UK for post-18 arrangements, with such an allowance sufficing to cover the expense of caring for a young individual. When in a Staying Put plan to recognise their skills and expertise, former foster carers should likewise get a cost payment. A fostering service respondent to our study stated: ‘Very few carers offer [Sitting tight] due to the monetary concerns, so unless they have another bedroom and can continue to promote, many do not use Staying Put. Young individuals’ requirements do not stop even if they are 18 and carers should have the ability to continue and get the very same monetary support.’
Without additional funding for Staying Put it is difficult to see how the ‘extra aid’ revealed will be understood in order to provide young people with the very best possible start to their adult lives. Because the beginning of the Staying Put plan in 2014, there has been no review and application of the policy differs. We are therefore getting in touch with the government to finish a full cross-departmental evaluation of Staying Put so the scheme can reach its full capacity to change how thousands of young people begin their adult years.
Last week the Government made an announcement about a plan of support in England for vulnerable households. We would, nevertheless, hope to see a universal offer of early intervention support across the nation, rather than a restricted deal only consisting of 75 local authorities.
Foster carers in England were more likely to experience a drop in financial support when supporting a young individual post-18 than in other places in the UK.