MPs are calling on the government to set up a national college for fostering to address concerns that carers feel undermined, undervalued and lack support. The House of Commons education select committee has made the recommendation in its first report from its inquiry into foster care, after hearing evidence that carers feel neglected and unsupported in the social care system.
The committee’s report said the government should set up a national college for foster carers to champion improvements in working conditions as well as provide access to training and support.
The committee also proposes a national register of carers, which would be coordinated by the proposed college and would contain details of carers’ experience, training and qualifications. This would make it easier for carers to transfer between agencies, the committee’s report said.
The committee’s report also calls for children in foster care to be given better information about their placements and have access to advocacy services.
Among other recommendations are that siblings in care should be placed together where possible and a national recruitment and awareness campaign should be launched to increase the number and variety of carers.
Committee chair Robert Halfon said: “Foster carers have a really important role in society and are often providing fantastic care in sometimes difficult circumstances.
“But our inquiry showed it is clear that too many are not adequately supported, neither financially nor professionally, in the vital work that they do.”
Children’s minister Robert Goodwill said: “We welcome the education Select Committee’s report, which highlights the invaluable role that foster carers play in the lives of vulnerable children. A happy and stable home for children in foster care is vital, and we are committed to supporting these looked after children and their foster carers.
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