Foster carers play a vital role in supporting some of our most vulnerable children and it is right that they receive the support they need to meet the needs of the children they look after.
We have introduced the foster-family-friendly employer policy, with the Department for Education leading by example in ensuring support and flexibility for its employees who foster. The National Fostering Stocktake, a comprehensive review of the fostering system, is also underway. The Stocktake is looking at a wide range of issues including the recruitment and retention of foster carers and the support foster carers receive. The reviewers will report to me with recommendations at the end of the year.
Foster carers are able to access the universal 15 hours of free childcare for all children in their care. We need to consider whether it is possible for children in foster care to take up the additional 15 hours in a way that promotes the best interests of the child.