Not-for-profit foster carer support service, FosterTalk, has seen demand surge for its tax and benefits helpline amid Covid-related financial uncertainty.
The organisation, which provides fostering advice, training and support for foster parents and fostering services, has experienced a 15% uplift in calls to its financial helpline since the start of lockdown.
The spike in calls has coincided with the coronavirus pandemic, which FosterTalk says has caused a great deal of uncertainty amongst foster carer households.
Managing director, Steve Stockley, comments: “The current pandemic has had a huge impact on foster carer household income, with many foster carer partners having lost their jobs or their self-employment income.
“This financial pressure has led to an increasing number of enquiries from households desperately seeking advice around what support is available to them to help them navigate these tough times.
“Traditionally, we see a high proportion of foster carers leave the profession in the first year or during the first placement due to finances. So, it’s imperative that we’re able to provide this service to concerned fostering households.”
Pat Lewis, who heads up FosterTalk’s financial helpline, adds: “Throughout the period of lockdown, we saw a major increase in callers who were in an emotionally vulnerable state.
“As well as allaying their financial concerns, we were happy to be able to guide them to our other helpline services to ensure they got the counselling, medical and fostering support they needed too.
“As we hopefully ease out of lockdown, we look to a brighter future where we can continue to support more wonderful fostering households.”
In addition to its tax and benefits advice service, FosterTalk also runs Fosterline Plus – virtual one-to-one support for foster carers experiencing extreme anxiety and crisis.
Last month, FosterTalk announced that it would receive part of the Department for Education’s £7 million fund for a new coalition of vulnerable children’s charities.
The funds will enable FosterTalk to bolster its government funded Fosterline service and continue supporting the retention and recruitment of foster carers during the pandemic.
For more information, visit www.fostertalk.org.