Foster carers are to receive the 30 hours free childcare offer for children in their care for the first time from September 2018. The Government also announced that over 340,000 children were in a 30-hour place in the first year of the policy.
Foster parents will have access to the Government’s flagship 30 hours free childcare offer for three-and-four-year-olds from September, giving them the same rights as other working families in England.
The Government says the extension marks a ‘significant step forward in improving the support available for foster families who work’, allowing them to take up the additional 15 hours of free childcare already available to other working parents since September 2017.
Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi said:
‘We want to make sure foster parents have the option of being able to work on top of their caring responsibilities, where it works for them and the children they care for. For many, this could make the difference between being able to foster or not, so it’s absolutely right that we support them with this challenging but rewarding role.'
Kevin Williams, Chief Executive of The Fostering Network said:
‘We warmly welcome this announcement which has rectified the initial exclusion of fostered children from this policy, and are pleased that the Department for Education listened to our calls for change.
The 15 extra hours will not be appropriate for all fostered children, but some foster carers, particularly family and friends carers and those offering long-term fostering, will need or want to combine fostering with work outside of the home, and this change will enable them to be able to do so. This is particularly good news for the recruitment of foster carers and is consistent with the message from Government that fostering can be combined with other work.’