Today sees the publication of the final report of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care in England. The report calls for £2.6bn to implement a ‘fundamental reset of the system to improve the quality of life for children, their families and those in care.’  

Foster Care Fortnight 2022, the largest celebration of fostering in Northern Ireland and the UK's biggest fostering awareness raising campaign, was launched on Monday 9 May at an event in Gracehall, Lurgan, by The Fostering Network in partnership with HSC NI Foster Care. The launch included a call for more foster carers throughout Northern Ireland. 

Across Northern Ireland, around 265 more fostering families are needed to make sure every child who is not able to live with their own family gets the care they need from foster carers within their own community. 

Too often, due to a lack of foster carers, children are placed with foster families away from their local communities, and sibling groups are separated, the UK’s leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network, warns.

This issue is highlighted during Foster Care FortnightTM (9-22 May), the charity’s annual awareness raising campaign, as they call for more people to come forward to foster, to ensure that children in need of a foster home can be cared for locally.

The Fostering Network is delighted to welcome Jacqueline Cassidy as its new director for practice and Scotland. 

Last week the Government made an announcement about a package of support in England for vulnerable families. The Fostering Network welcomes the additional £302 million to create new Family Hubs in England and urges those local authorities implementing the Hubs to ensure that they provide early intervention to those children in foster care who need it, alongside their peers.

Weekly fostering allowances are designed to cover the full costs of looking after a child or young person in foster care. No foster carer should be out of pocket as a result of caring for a child on behalf of the state.  

In Wales, England and Northern Ireland there is a national minimum allowance and each year in April, these allowances are uprated to reflect the increase in the cost of living.  

In response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, the UK government have launched a scheme for families to put themselves forward to welcome Ukrainian families into their homes.

The Fostering Network and CoramBAAF are receiving enquiries asking for advice. The key principles for The Fostering Network and CoramBAAF are as follows:

The Adoption and Children Bill was passed in the Northern Ireland Assembly yesterday with full cross-party support. We warmly welcome the passing of the Adoption and Children Bill which represents a huge step forward for children’s social care, as the first piece of legislation focussed on the fostering system since the 1995 Children Order.   

We welcome the recommendations set out in the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) final report published yesterday that sets clearer expectations at a national, regional and local level in England, Scotland and Wales to ensure that all children in care are living in placements that meets all their needs.