The Foster Care Crisis in the UK

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When you look up the word crisis in the dictionary, you will find this meaning: a crisis is “a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger”. But I doubt that you will connect the word crisis with the term foster care. Why would there be a foster care crisis in the United Kingdom or anywhere else in Europe? It may be expected in Asia or Africa, where there are a lot of third world countries, but you would never expect this to happen in economic powerhouses such as Europe and the Americas. But we are wrong. There is a foster crisis in the UK. Fostering in London and the rest of Great Britain has never been more difficult than it is today.

One of the reasons this has happened is that not enough young people (young adults to middle aged adults) are volunteering to become foster carers. In fact, more foster carers, about three quarters of them, according to the charitable organization The Fostering Network, are aged 45 years old or older.

Another possible reason why people have become less interested in becoming foster carers with firms like nextstepfostering.org is that in reality, fostering a child or fostering children costs money. By becoming a foster carer, you will be responsible for providing for the basic needs of the child like food, clothing, shelter and even education. Although private fostering services, and local authorities provide standard allowance to foster carers, the allowance provided may not be enough to provide for other things that might not be considered as necessities. In private fostering services, an average of three hundred to four hundred pounds per week is provided per child that you foster. If you decide to provide extras for your foster child like private schooling and the like, it would have to be out of your own pocket. The same goes for local authorities. In fact, the allowance provided is much much lower, only about one hundred twenty to two hundred pounds per week, depending on the age of the foster child.

Still another reason being considered as to why there are not a lot of people want to become foster carers is that there seems to be no changes in benefits whether or not you have a foster child under your care. Unlike having your own kids or having adopted children, foster carers can’t process a claim for Child Benefit or Child Tax Credits. This is because the foster child is not being considered as part or a member of the household or the family. There are some benefits that they can get tough, like Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefits, however, according to The Fostering Network, these benefits are not enough to warrant an interest in becoming a foster carer. In fact, they are still constantly lobbying for amendments in the legislature of laws governing foster care.

So as of the moment, it seems that to become a foster carer with nextstepfostering.org, you need to be more mindful of the benefits of fostering to the foster child than to you as a foster carer. But isn’t that why you want to become a foster carer in the first place?

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