The Norfolk Foster Care Association (NFCA) have submitted complaints to a national inquiry.
This is not the first time concerns over the treatment of local foster carers has come under scrutiny. In September, Norfolk County Council submitted an independent review which concluded that the council mistreated six carers. Yet this did not include those affiliated with the NFCA.
Allegations made by foster carers include lack of financial and legal support provided to them, the unnecessary removal of children from their established placements, and failure to ensure that complaints are investigated fairly.
The fairness of the ‘Staying Put’ scheme has also been contested. The money awarded to foster carers declines after a child turns 18. Concerns that whistle-blower reports are not thoroughly investigated are also included.
In response, the NFCA have suggested stringent procedures for assisting whistle-blowers. A rigorous standardised procedure for carrying out investigations is also recommended.
North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb supports the reviews. He said, “The failures in the fostering system have been particularly acute in Norfolk, where I have been shocked at the way in which foster carers have been treated by the county council in recent years.”
The findings follow a long line of flagged up issues regarding Norfolk child services. Since 2013 Ofsted has rated them ‘inadequate’ twice. There have been four department directors in the last four years.