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Confidence in Care to Transform Outcomes – Wales

BAAF Cymru is part of the Confidence in Care consortium of six charities and academic bodies which has been awarded £4.75 million from the Big Lottery Fund to deliver a five year programme aiming to improve the life chances of looked after children across Wales. This will primarily be achieved through the training of 1,500 foster, kinship and residential carers using the Fostering Changes programme.

For more information visit the BAAF website.

Current Consultations – Wales

Implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 – Consultation on the Regulations and statutory guidance in relation to part 7 (Safeguarding) of the Act

The Welsh Assembly Government is providing the opportunity for stakeholders across Wales to provide their input on the first set of consultations in order for us to deliver requirements of the Act.

This consultation has now closed

The draft regulations and statutory guidance have been developed through a consultative process with our main stakeholders.

The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 received Royal Assent on 1 May 2014. The Act forms the basis for a new statutory framework for social care in Wales.

The regulations will be made under the appropriate sections of the Act. The codes of practice are issued under section 145 and the Statutory Guidance under sections 131 and 139.

Part 7 (Safeguarding) of the Act covers:

  • the strengthening of arrangements for children at risk
  • new legislation to protect adults at risk, including a duty to report and enquire
  • a new Adult Protection and Support Order
  • new Safeguarding Adults Boards
  • a National Independent Safeguarding Board.

Further information and copies of all consultation documents can be found on the following link http://wales.gov.uk/consultations/healthsocialcare/part7/?lang=en

How to respond

Please submit your comments by 02 February 2015, in any of the following ways:

Email
sswbimplementation@Wales.GSI.Gov.UK

Post
Sustainable Social Services Implementation Branch
Social Services Directorate
Welsh Government
Cathays Park
Cardiff
CF10 3NQ


Bedroom Tax Proposals Could Split Up Sibling Groups

Last week, we posted an update about the U-turn on bedroom tax for foster carers.

However, the government have since announced that the exemption will only apply to a foster carer’s first “spare” bedroom, meaning that those who have two or more bedrooms for fostering will still be affected.

This could deter foster carers from offering homes to sibling groups, leading to brothers and sisters being split up between different foster families.

A £5m discretionary housing fund has been allocated to help remedy the problem but some foster carers are already reporting problems accessing this support.

The effect of the bedroom tax on the stability of sibling placements could be devastating. That’s why we’ll continue to campaign for all foster carers to be exempt from these unfair housing benefit cuts.

Please join our campaign by sharing your views with us, and we will share them with the Minister.


The Welfare Reform Bill – Update February 2013

Forthcoming Changes in Housing Benefit rules may affect foster carers

At the beginning of April 2013, new rules will affect the calculation of Housing Benefit for social housing tenants in England, Wales and Scotland (similar rules in Northern Ireland depend on legislation currently under consideration).

Payments will be reduced by 14 per cent where a house is deemed to be “under-occupied” by one room and 24 per cent if under-occupied by two or more rooms. This may affect foster carers particularly, as fostered children are not counted when considering whether a home is fully occupied or not.

Example: A foster carer living in a three-bedroomed house, with no birth children living at home, will see their Housing Benefit cut by 25 per cent, regardless of how many foster children they have.

Local authorities are allocated a budget for Discretionary Housing Payments which they can use to support households which are in difficulties in meeting their rent, but although these budgets have been significantly increased, demand is expected to be extremely high so foster carers need to apply for DHP as soon as their housing benefit is affected.

Pensioners housing benefit claims will not be affected by the new rules.

Children’s Minister Edward Timpson stated in a Parliamentary answer that:

“The discretionary housing payment (DHP) fund, administered by local authorities, will be increased by £5 million a year from April 2013. This will enable authorities to compensate foster carers whose housing benefit is subject to a restriction as a result of the size criteria measure being introduced for working age claimants living in the social rented sector.

The Department for Work and Pension’s DHP guidance manual for local authorities is being revised. It will make clear the expectation that this additional funding will be prioritised for foster carers whose housing benefit is reduced as a result of this change because of a bedroom being used by, or kept free for, foster children.

I am meeting the Minister for Welfare Reform early in the new year to discuss what more needs to be done to ensure that local authority chief executives, directors of children’s services and local housing authorities are aware that funds are available to assist foster carers, and to encourage them to use this support as effectively as possible to help meet their responsibility as corporate parents to see that vulnerable looked after children have access to loving, stable homes.”