Thursday, May 10, 2007

Foster Parents in Wales

In a rather poorly advertised consultation by the Welsh Assembly Government, some 35 foster parents replied to the consultation, either singularly or as a couple. Some interesting statistics show that there are some 1,949 foster parents in Wales, so between 2% to 3.5% of the foster parents in Wales contributed to this consultation on Foster Parents Allowances.

In total, a further 20 agencies contributed to this consultation. Be they Local Authorities or private fostering agencies. It is to their advantage to keep this allowance as low as possible.

While in the original consultation, there are some 1,200 children in care who aren't with foster parents, and some 3,200 who are looked after by Foster Parents. I suggest that WAG should look at how much it cost each of the 22 local authorities to look after each of these 1,200 children?

The Small Fortunes table for the cost of bringing up a child, weekly rates vary from £78 to £98 per week per child depending on age. The monetary value of the allowances each foster parent get for a child varies from £114 to around £150 per week. I very much feel that this is on the conservative side.

My first recommendation would be to establish the costs per child of keeping a child in Local Authority Care. My second recommendations to the consultation is that the minimum amount per child should be £14,000 per year, and again this would be cheap compared to the cost of keeping a child in Local Authority Care.

Visit the following links to the relevant sections of both the Welsh Assembly Government and Neath Port Talbot CBC Websites for further information.

--Gary Lewis
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