A WORCESTERSHIRE group of the Foster Care Workers Union is being launched after county carers expressed concerns about having no employment rights and being left vulnerable to abuse by the system.
Those looking after children claimed their lack of protection did not reflect the personal nature of their role and the union said without rights, many did not feel comfortable speaking out without the right to protection when whistleblowing, even if it was in the child’s interest.
It added foster carers undertook large amounts of training to ensure they were skilled, qualified and dedicated but could be left without a voice by the same councils which labelled ‘heroes’.
The union has also recently launched its own ‘allegations’ training which gives a true picture of what foster carers can expect and what they can do.
A former Worcestershire foster carer who had a negative experience of the system welcomed the new group’s creation and claimed she would still be in her role today if she had received the help offered by the union.
She said to look after children successfully foster carers needed to look after themselves.
“Fostering is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do and this is what we are sold by earnest social workers, eager to increase their numbers. And it is true.
“But what they don’t tell you is once an allegation is made – be it proven or not – once there is an incident or even if your face doesn’t fit, you are alone because you are not employed by the local authority or the fostering agency – you are effectively self-employed.
“You can be left drowning in red tape and are not included in investigations meaning decisions are made about your future without you even being in the room.”
It is well-documented Worcestershire needs foster carers but the FCW chair of the England, Wales and Northern Ireland branch Sarah Anderson, who will be at the meeting, said they needed to be protected.
“In just two years the IWGB have gained thousands of members as we continue to expose the injustice foster carers face.
“Providing love and stability for vulnerable children in our society starts with us, the foster carers, and we need to work together so we are recognised and secure in our role”
The inaugural meeting takes place between 11am and 12.30pm on Thursday, June 27, at Wychbold Village Hall, School Road, and will give foster carers the chance to find out about the union and the support they can receive. People do not have to be a member of the union to attend.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the new group and Thursday’s meeting.
The Foster Care Workers Union is a branch of the IWGB (Independent Workers of Great Britain).