Foster Friendly Employers
The Department for Education becomes government’s first foster friendly employer
The Department for Education (DfE) has become the government’s first foster family-friendly employer, supporting employees who are foster carers to balance their work and care responsibilities.
From April 2014, DfE employees who foster and people who permanently care for family or friend’s children (for example a grandparent permanently caring for a grandchild) will be offered up to 20 days paid leave for training or meetings related to their role as a carer.
In addition, employees will receive additional unpaid leave for unexpected emergencies.
Edward Timpson – Children and Families Minister and Chris Wormald – the DfE Permanent Secretary are encouraging other government departments to follow suit and provide their own foster family friendly policy.
Edward Timpson has significant experience of fostering, having grown up with over 80 foster children and hopes more people will be encouraged to take up fostering.
“In becoming the first government department to introduce their very own foster-family-friendly policy, I hope this will encourage more employees to take that next step, knowing that their employer is behind them every step of the way”.
Chris Wormald believes it is not only beneficial to employees but offering a foster-family-friendly policy will help companies to hold onto valuable members of staff.
“By becoming a foster-friendly employer I hope we can retain those valuable and experienced people who may otherwise feel they are unable to combine their family responsibilities with work”.
Paul Adams, British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), said:
“This is a significant development that shows an understanding of the real challenges that come with these caring roles, and offers recognition and support to foster carers in work outside the home.
The DfE is showing the way to other employers who want to demonstrate a real and meaningful commitment to children in care, or living with family and friends and sends out the clear message that people in work can also be suitable to foster.”
Encourage more people to be Foster Carers
The department is encouraging businesses to support their employees who foster – just as companies such as Tesco and O2 already do – and has developed some simple steps that businesses can introduce to support their staff to foster.
Lorimer Fostering welcomes this new development; Zoe O’Donohoe, Marketing Manager, states “Fostering can be a challenging task, and foster carers have to be extremely flexible and available to meet a child’s needs. Having more flexibility and understanding from employers, is definitely a positive step forward and will make the decision to become a foster carer an easier one for those considering making that transition in the future”.