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Childcare hours extended to include foster children

St Christopher’s is delighted that the campaign asking the government to extend free childcare hours to foster carers has been successful and that foster parents now have access to up to 30 free hours childcare per week.

The decision will not only benefit foster carers, but will make a huge difference to children in care too. Some children have had such a difficult start in life that they have missed out on opportunities to socialise with their peers; they are in catch-up mode because of the nurturing that they have missed.

Children and young people learn a lot from their foster carers, and the time and care they put in can never be underestimated. However, being with other children of a similar age offers something extra to meet their needs and provides them with opportunities to learn how to make friends.

The campaign was initiated by The Fostering Network and was supported by other fostering agencies. St Christopher’s Chief Executive Ron Giddens signed a letter to the media asking the government to address the issue and attended a roundtable event to share our views on how the policy could be implemented.

St Christopher’s foster carers do an amazing job with the young people they look after. One of the main reasons they like fostering with us is that children are at the heart of the organisation, which is why we supported this campaign.

Annette Richards, Head of Fostering at St Christopher’s, said: “We welcome this decision and are so pleased that foster carers have been included. We would never want to stigmatise children in care by restricting them from accessing something that all other children can make use of, so we are really pleased the offer has been opened up to foster carers. We will support our carers to access the hours if they wish to make use of them.”

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