Private equity companies among those profiting from foster placements for Coventry children
Council bosses were forced to pay out more than £10million of taxpayers money to fostering agencies in 2014 because of a shortage of carers.
Agencies pay foster carers a higher allowance than the council - meaning more people choose to look after youngsters in need through them.
As a result the council has to turn to those agencies for support, spending £10,515,723 looking after children who can’t live with their parents because of neglect, abuse, bereavement or breakdown of relationships.
In Scotland making a profit from finding foster carers is against the law - but in England it’s legal.
One national agency made a profit of £14.4m in 2014-15.
Chairman of the Coventry branch of union Unison and convenor for social services George Sands said: “If someone is disadvantaged and private companies are making a profit out of that then there is something fundamentally wrong with society.”
The city council regularly campaigns for more foster carers and adopters to come forward to help youngsters - with a special evening to encourage more to join being held next week in Canley.
Some children in care are fostered with carers recruited by the council and others through agencies. Agencies pay foster carers higher allowances so the majority of carers opt to foster through an agency.
That leaves the council struggling to directly recruit carers and forced to use agencies. An agency placement costs on average £739 compared with a council placement at £430.
Coun Ed Ruane, city council cabinet member housing and heritageCoun Ed Ruane, city council cabinet member housing and heritage
Coun Ed Ruane (Lab, Henley), Coventry City Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “This is what happens if you allow the private sector into the care industry to make profits out of misfortunes in kids’ lives.”
In 2014 Coventry City Council paid £662,930 to the National Foster Care Agency which at the time was owned by private equity company Graphite Capital.
The National Foster Care Agency paid Graphite Capital £14.4m from fostering operations around the country in 2014 to 2015.
The council also paid £338,143 to fostering agency Swiis (c).
The company, which operates around the country and also has health and other social work operations, paid £1.5m in 2014 to 2015 to the family which owns it.
And Foster Care Associates, which was paid £945,092 in 2014 by Coventry City Council, paid £7m in dividends in 2014 to 2015 to its holding company.
Some of the foster care agencies used by the council are charities and don’t make a profit.
Source: Coventry Telegraph
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