Glasgow council accused of ‘failing our most vulnerable children’

Glasgow City Council has been accused of ‘failing our most vulnerable children’ by foster care workers, who want an increase in the allowance they receive.

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which represents some foster car workers in the city, says the Child’s Allowance has been frozen for 10 years.

It is calling on the council to pay foster care workers more when it sets its next budget.

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What’s the problem?

The union said: “After inflation, the freeze equates to a 23.12 per cent cut in the foster child allowance, leaving many foster carers struggling to subsidise costs of care themselves. In many cases this is not possible as pay has also been frozen for 13 years, resulting in a 30 per cent real pay cut.”

The union argues that investment would improve quality of care and outcomes for young people while saving public money, lessening pressure on other public services and boosting Glasgow’s local economy.

What is the union saying?

Kenny Millard, chair of Foster Care Workers’ Branch (IWGB), said: “For a decade now Glasgow City Council has failed this city’s most vulnerable children and now dedicated foster carers are being driven either into poverty or out of service all together because they simply cannot afford to continue subsidising that failure.

“An investment in Glasgow’s children is an investment in its future. By ending the freeze Glasgow City Council can help tackle the crisis in foster care, lessen pressure on public services, boost the local economy and give every child in Glasgow the start they deserve here, where they belong.”

What are foster care workers saying?

Jacqueline McShane, a Glasgow-based foster care worker currently caring for three children under five, added: “Being a foster carer is not the same as being a parent. You take in the most vulnerable children in our society with complex support needs that require specialist, round-the-clock care. But the work we do is so undervalued and we have been pushed to breaking point.”

How is Glasgow City Council responding?

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “Glasgow has been part of discussions with the Scottish Government and COSLA around a national decision on fostering fees and allowances but remains one of the local authorities paying higher than the national average for a number of years.

“Our officers will be writing to the organisation as the data being quoted in this release is inaccurate and misleading.

“Glasgow’s integrated care arrangements continue to shift the balance, where appropriate, towards supporting children in their home environment and aligned to the recent national and Scottish Government Independent Care Review and the Promise.

“We have also commissioned a comprehensive family support strategy and doubled the funding from £2.7m to £5.4m for local family support services across the city.”