Thursday, 29 September 2016

Private fostering agencies offer cash incentives for more business

"Large private foster agencies are offering cash incentives to recruit foster carers working for English local authorities - and then charging more for the service, councils say. Some agencies pay `golden hellos` of around £3,000, but then charge councils more to care for the same child."

"The Association of Directors of Children's Services says the practice is immoral and should be banned..."

"A recent independent review of residential care by government adviser Sir Martin Narey said that in 2014-15, eight commercial fostering agencies made around £41m in profit... Not all agencies make money, some are charities or not for profit organisations."

"The president of ADCS, Dave Hill, said that companies should not be profiteering from children in care and objected very strongly to `golden hellos`.  Mr Hill said that it cost authorities thousands of pounds to assess and train foster carers - a cost that was wasted if the carer then transferred to an agency..."

Edward Timpson
"Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson said: "We are launching a national stocktake of fostering to better understand current provision - including looking at the role fostering agencies play."

"The revelation comes amid a shortage of foster carers."

[The revelation comes amid a shortage of foster carers, indeed. And record numbers of children are being placed in care. Now why would that be?  Maybe Corporate Watch is on to something.]

From Corporate Watch:
"In response to requests from foster carers concerned by the privatisation of their service, Corporate Watch has combed through company records and accounts to investigate who is behind the UK’s biggest foster care businesses, how much money they are making and where that money is going."
"We have found millions of pounds that could be reinvested in the care of children are instead leaving the system as bumper payouts to shareholders. Directors enjoy very generous pay packets, while some companies are siphoning profits out through tax havens in the Channel Islands and the Caribbean."
"Foster care has become a lucrative business. Whether it should be a business at all is another question."
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