Fos­ter par­ents praised by min­is­ter

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - SIGNING UP -

A SE­NIOR gov­ern­ment fig­ure spent Tues­day morn­ing at a Great Chart school, learn­ing about two in­no­va­tive care pro­grammes be­ing pi­loted in Kent.

Bev­er­ley Hughes, the min­is­ter for chil­dren, young peo­ple and fam­i­lies, said she would con­sider what she had heard as part of a forth­com­ing gov­ern­ment White Pa­per on fos­ter care.

The small-scale ini­tia­tives, the Multi-di­men­sional Treat­ment Fos­ter Pro­gramme (MTF) and the Ther­a­peu­tic Re­par­ent­ing scheme (TRP) fo­cus on the most dif­fi­cult chil­dren to fos­ter. Both are run by Kent County Coun­cil.

Based at the Gold­wyn Com­mu­nity Spe­cial School in God­in­ton Lane, where Tues­day’s con­sul­ta­tion took place, the MTF is de­signed for teenagers, while the TRP looks to sup­port younger chil­dren.

Fos­ter par­ents at the meet­ing praised the im­pact of schemes, which, it is claimed, are cheaper and more ef­fec­tive than tra­di­tional ways of car­ing for dif­fi­cult chil­dren, in par­tic­u­lar hous­ing them in res­i­den­tial homes.

Chil­dren on the MTF pro­gramme have had £77,840 each spent on them per year, while those un­der the aus­pices of the TRP have cost £43,700. This com­pares favourably with the cost of keep­ing a child in a care home which is around £200,000 a year.

Mrs Hughes de­scribed the meet­ing as “in­cred­i­bly il­lu­mi­nat­ing for me,” adding: “We are in the process of draw­ing up a White Pa­per on how we can all do bet­ter for chil­dren in care.

“I think they are both re­ally ex­cel­lent schemes.”

Pic­ture: Dave Downey pd1205162

Chil­dren’s min­is­ter Bev­er­ley Hughes meets fos­ter car­ers Jackie and Andrew and Mag­gie

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