by Andy Elvin
"This month the new President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, Dave Hill, spoke out against Independent Fostering Agencies (IFAs) offering £3,000 `Golden Hellos` to foster carers to switch agencies."
"He said: `We think it is very sharp practice because we’re recruiting, training, assessing and approving those foster carers. We just think that is morally absolutely wrong`."
"He encouraged ministers to consider Scotland, where laws state fostering agencies which are profit making cannot approve, review or terminate the approval of foster carers."
"I have every sympathy with Dave Hill and would urge the English government to look at copying the Scottish legislation, and have urged Department for Education to do just this."
"Ed Timpson said recently, in the midst of the concerned responses to the ‘exemption’ clause contained in the Children and Social Work Bill, that the government "will not privatise Child Protection". And it won’t, as the private sector wants no part of a service where they operate to a fixed cost but can’t control how much demand will be placed on that service."
"However the care system was part privatised some years ago. It is legal and above board, and it is big, big business. The Sunday Times reported last weekend how two of Britain’s biggest foster care companies, Acorn and the National Fostering Agency, were to merge in an ambitious £400m plan."