Welsh Lib Dems call for foster carer salary

15 May 2024
Foster carer

This week in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Government to provide more support to foster carers in Wales as part of the adoption of the Step-Up, Step-Down scheme.

The scheme, which would see foster carers provide more support to families in crisis, aims to ensure that more children are able to safely remain at home rather than being placed in care.

According to the “Radical Reform Report”, foster care is the most common placement type for care experienced children. With 69.4% of children in care finding themselves in foster placements in 2022.

However social services have reportedly suffered from issues affecting the recruitment and retention of new foster carers.

An estimated 400 more foster families are needed in Wales to meet current demands according to a survey from the Fostering Network.

The same survey found that only 57% of carers feel treated as equals by children’s social workers. With concerns also being raised over a lack of consultation and a poor support network.  

Speaking in the Siambr on Tuesday, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS urged the Welsh Government to recognise the important work done by foster carers.

The party Leader, who worked as a Child Protection Social Worker for 20 years before entering politics, also called on the Welsh Government to consider giving foster carers a salary.

Commenting, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said:

“I am very pleased to see that the ‘Step Up, Step Down’ scheme is being considered here in Wales.

This is a truly transformational scheme which would relieve some of the pressures on our social services whilst at the same time prioritising children’s safety and well-being.

I am also glad to see that we will continue to harness the invaluable expertise of foster carers.

Foster carers provide an invaluable service to our society, they are the bedrock of which our social services are built upon. However I fear that their hard work and dedication is often overlooked.

This cannot continue, we must recognise the important work done by our foster carers whilst also ensure that they are getting the right levels of support. Most importantly they must be salaried.

They should not be expected to not be paid when they don’t have children with them, which is the current situation. Would we expect the same when people take time off from work?”

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