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Foster carers provide a stable and loving home for some of the most vulnerable children in our society. The children they care for often have complex and challenging needs. Foster carers have an important role as part of the professional team around the child and need to be available to attend meetings about the child’s care and training.
A supportive and flexible employer will enable foster carers to balance their work and caring responsibilities. Tesco and O2 are excellent examples of businesses that recognise the important contribution that foster carers make to our communities. They have specific policies that offer up to five days’ paid leave for prospective foster carers to attend related meetings and training. Tesco recognises foster children as dependents for the purposes of emergency leave and their foster carers also have access to a shift swap scheme. See what Tesco and O2 say about their foster family friendly policies from the links on the left.
The Department is encouraging businesses to support their employees who foster – just as Tesco and O2 already do. It has developed some simple steps that businesses can take to support their staff to foster.
Children's Minister Tim Loughton said:
I do not want there to be unnecessary barriers to foster carers working if they want to, as long as they are able to continue to meet the needs of the children in their care.
I want all fostering services to consider how they can support foster carers that want to, and can, work alongside fostering. This might include being flexible about the timing of meetings that foster carers need to attend and providing training sessions in the evenings and at weekends. Where they feel that it is important that foster carers are not employed outside the home, I want fostering services to have robust and transparent reasons for this.
It is very encouraging to see major businesses like Tesco and 02 making a clear commitment to support their employees to foster. I call on all employers to consider following their excellent example. I am delighted to announce that the Department for Education will demonstrate its commitment by introducing a foster family friendly policy for it’s employees and I will be actively encouraging my ministerial colleagues to do the same across their own Departments.
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Suggested ways for companies to provide fostering-friendly HR policies.
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