Fostering Associations from across the UK have formed a national consortium to better coordinate support and guidance for carers.
The National Fostering Association Consortium also aims to ensure the skills and qualifications of foster carers are better recognised in the care sector.
It also aims to lobby the Department for Education on foster care issues.
Supporting the consortium is Foster Support, a not-for-profit company that focuses on improving retention and recruitment among foster carers.
A focus is on promoting collaboration and sharing of good practice among fostering groups across the UK as well as with councils’ children services departments.
According to Foster Support director Jane Collins the consortium’s focus on collaboration has been modelled on an arrangement Surrey Fostering Association has with its local authority to ensure “foster carers’ views and voices are head and respected”.
“Over the past few months, we have held a number of joint meetings with fostering associations around the UK which culminated in the decision to form a national consortium to bring everyone together under one banner,” she said.
“The aim will be to share good practice. We have also set out national minimum standards for fostering associations which include expectations around how fostering services work with their associations.”
She added that too often local fostering associations “are ignored” and only have a “token tick box role” locally “such as organising a Christmas party”.
Surrey Fostering Association chair Jane Porter said the consortium “creates an opportunity for different fostering associations, to share their knowledge and experiences, in both foster carer support and proactive discussions with a fostering service; some of which may have been good, or sadly not so good”.
Earlier this month it emerged that more than half of foster carers have considered giving up the role due to the cost-of-living crisis.
Nine in ten say they are having to cut back on spending on children and two and a half per cent have used food banks.
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