Well what an amazing few months, the thing that stands out for me is the incredible impact we are having on the fostering narrative….a year and a half ago the industry had never heard of workers rights for Foster Carers, and had never heard of the title foster care worker, a central licensing body had not occurred to anyone and the corporations, private agencies, government, and all the individuals who’s jobs exist because of us had it all sewn up, ultimate control of a vulnerable workforce, a normalised climate of fear which meant no one dared speak out…..oh boy how that has now changed.
The government published their response to the Stocktake and Education select committee’s fostering enquiries last week, and although it was a predictable piece of work, it had a slight feel of desperation about it, and the part on foster care workers themselves was almost entirely in response to the campaigns, court cases and press generated solely by the IWGB, not to mention the buzz around foster care workers that finally there is a truly independent body to represent them, and even better empower them to represent themselves and start to control their own working lives.
In the last couple of months we launched our IWGB APPG (All party parliamentary group) the first ever foster carer led enquiry into foster care work. So many others have spoken allegedly on our behalf on how ‘it is’ whilst foster careers stay silent for fear or reprisals if they speak the truth….not anymore. We have 18 cross party MP’s and peers sitting on our APPG and many have been appalled at the evidence from foster care workers who have finally got a voice in parliament.
The APPG will be discussing all aspects of foster care work, in particular worker status and the central licensing body. At the end we will be working with the MP’s and Peers on a new foster care workers bill of rights, including workers (Limb ‘b’) rights and the central licensing body for foster care workers. We will be producing a detailed report on our inquiry that will be led by foster care workers.
Membership continues to rise exponentially and requests for open union meetings are growing. Regional Groups are starting all around the UK and in England and Wales we expect to have almost the entire country within reach of a Regional Group by the beginning of 2019….unbelievable when you consider we have still not be going 2yrs. Just in the last couple of months we have inaugurated Durham and area, Bradford, Leeds and area, South Wales and Lancashire area to add to our existing groups, and meetings and groups in the pipeline for September/October (summer hols not great for us FCW’s!) are South London, Kent and more. See our Regional Group page for more information and who to contact in your area and get in contact with us if you want a meeting in your area.
We continue to seek justice for Penny and Ron Jones the carers who fostered the Parsons Green bomber and then were dumped by Surrey County Council, who’s catastrophic failings were directly responsible, including failing to tell the Jones that Ahmed Hussain was ‘trained to kill by ISIS’ when they placed him with them. We will keep you posted.
Lastly, if you wish to attend the next All-Party Parliamentary Group session on Foster Care Work please write to Lydia, our Branch Coordinator, on email@example.com
More news to follow soon…