Making money out of abused and neglected children?

 

So I might be missing something here, so let me know if I am.

I have been trying to invite Childrens and family ministers Ed Timpson to engage directly with the Home for Good campaign for a while. Sadly he was too busy to come to any of the meetings (including the launch) and too busy to speak to us directly. But today he was speaking at a conference for the National Fostering Association. Here’s a bit of background on them:

One of Britain’s biggest independent fostering providers, the National Fostering Agency (NFA) was bought by one such company in 2006 and sold to another for £130m, tripling the original investment.

So this is a for profit (and big profit too) Fostering association. So venture capitalists are making huge profits out of the fact that there very 22 minutes a child is coming into care in the UK. Here’s how Kevin Williams from children’s charity TACT put it.

“There is a moral question about making large sums of money from children who’ve suffered abuse and neglect. If they do profit from such children, can they demonstrate that they’re delivering the best possible outcomes for those children and not simply making money through efficiency savings, by increasing workloads and reducing training and support? I would question whether they can.”

Quite why Mr Timpson picked to launch a new government initiative to help recruit more foster carers at at a for profit fostering business is beyond me. Supporting some (not all) independent fostering agencies (IFA) makes life even harder on the local authorities who have to compete in a marketplace for foster carers and sometimes have to place children with an expensive IFA but then not have enough money to keep them there – meaning children are moved more often than they should be from one placement to another.

In our Big Society there was supposed to be encouragement for the charity sector and the faith community to work with government to see the flourishing of our nation. But sadly by backing the business sector in this area they are working against their own aspirations to find the right homes for children.

Any way maybe I am just venting – so help me understand if I have misunderstood something.I am a local authority foster carer. I want to see as many children as possible get the right care that they need. Not all local authorities are brilliant, not all for profit agencies are soulless heartless capitalists willing to make a quick buck no matter at whose expense. Many foster carers and social workers who work with venture capitalist funded agencies will be lovely people its the fat cats at the top I have a problem with and the fundamental philosophy behind this set up.

But we do at least have to ask the moral question of whether this is right?

 

 

7 thoughts on “Making money out of abused and neglected children?”

  1. With a daughter and son in law who have just adopted 3children, I am outraged, tho not surprised, at such a cynical approach to arguably our most precious resource-children. And vulnerable ones at that! Keep venting away Krish. It’s a great job you are doing

  2. Great article just put this on my Facebook , I am aware how much I independent agencies make . During my time with my children , I spoke to a many foster careers who say they go with I dependant agencies because they pay more than local authority .I remember one contact meeting with siblings , we were struggling financially to manage .Foster careers turned up in a brand new people carrier paid for by their agency and just come back from a foreign holiday .

  3. Hi Krish

    I quite agree.

    But Edward Timpson’s parents have fostered many children; I think he’s genuinely motivated by a desire for service and not by ideology. Which means if you do ever get to meet him and you can reassure him you’re not grinding a political axe, you’re in with a chance of convincing him that this is an area where markets solutions aren’t the best ones.

  4. You’re absolutely right about this – and it’s shocking the government are endorsing companies which are costing local authorities a lot of money to provide foster services. This was one of the motivators behind the Southampton recruitment drive, the saving for the council of placing a child with a family handled through their social services rather than a private company is £500 per week. So by finding 40 families to meet the shortfall they can provide homes for vulnerable children and save the council over £1million a year.

  5. This sounds bad Krish…maybe private companies should invest in their LA’s instead. But I guess there’s no glory and no profit in that!
    Our adopted daughter was with agency foster carers and you sometimes felt that there were problems with communication between the LA and the agency. Also that the agency had different ideas about fostering than the LA.
    The fact our daughter was with agency FC’s I feel did contribute to the speed of her placement with us and the shortness of the introductions! Which was good for us of course.
    I think the agency fees are really squeezing LA’s. Less money less children can be helped.
    I’ve met Edward Timpson at an event and he seemed so passionate about A and F….shame he’s not wanted to be part of HFG.
    Thank you for tirelessly advocating for the vulnerable children in this country :-)

    1. Ed is really passionate about this and I really respect him. Just a little frustrated that we can’t engage him.

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