Last week, Sarah Anderson’s story came to the attention of many across the country as she began her fight for foster carers to receive workers rights.
In what potentially could be a landmark case, she will argue to have foster carers classified to be entitled to the same benefits as “workers”.
In what has sparked a very controversial debate, it is clear that this is a discussion that will not be going away anytime soon. And because of this, it is something that the government will now have to take into serious consideration.
It is no secret that foster carers have an extremely demanding job to do. Being responsible as the sole carer for children and young people ultimately means that you don’t get the luxury of switching off and winding down after you shutdown the computer at 5.30pm. It is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and so maybe it doesn’t seem so farfetched for it to be viewed as a ‘real job’.
But the question really lies in whose has the responsibility to make sure that foster carers are being looked after properly. Because let’s face it, in order to be able to give someone the care and attention that they need, that person also needs to be looked after too.
So could it be that this discussion has been brought forward because many foster carers feel that they are not getting the support they need in order for them to care for children and young people adequately. Sarah Anderson is fighting on behalf of all foster carers, and rightly so, but it would be interesting to know if this sentiment is felt by a majority of carers or a small minority.
Going back to the question of whose responsibility it is, there is no doubt in the matter that it is important for foster carers voices and opinions to be heard and that their physical and mental health should be a top priority for foster agencies, local councils, children and young people and the government. All in all it is to everyone’s benefit.
So, the big debate that arises is, should we make foster carers ‘employees’? Which could potentially have a huge impact on the foster care system or start putting more responsibility and pressure on the organisations and bodies that are responsible for foster carers. This decision would also have significant financial implications for many organisations and the government would need to form a view on this.