Parents who have experienced child protection proceedings inside the family courts have reacted angrily after an investigation revealed a huge spike in profits within the foster care sector. The findings come just as new research confirms that forced adoption of newborns has more than doubled, with no clear indication as to why so many babies are being removed from their parents.
According to The Sun, the foster care industry, which is valued at £1.7billion, has seen a sharp rise in foster care companies backed by large private equity funds sweeping up taxpayers’ cash. The report also mentions the latest stats on children taken into care, which show a 34% rise in the number of removals, to more than 10,000 children being placed in care, a record number for one single year.
The article in The Sun features families who have gone through child protection proceedings and who are outraged by the findings. Some families fled abroad to avoid losing their children, and others lost their children to the care sector. The investigation also reveals details of the holding companies making enormous profits from the fostering industry, and the individuals connected to them.
Large scale profiteering by companies inside the fostering sector was documented by The Independent in 2013. This was an important story at the time because it highlighted the vast profits being made from failing children’s homes, raising serious concerns about the way in which these homes were being run, and what their ultimate purpose was. In 2016, The Guardian also wrote a piece on the financial infrastructure of the foster care sector, again questioning the motives of the companies involved. And in 2017, an expose by ITV, confirmed the worst: children were being badly neglected by care homes, while managers pocketed most of the cash.
The Education Committee’s scathing report in December 2017, on fostering in the UK, also came to a grim conclusion: an alarming number of foster placements were being made for financial reasons rather than the best interests of children in care. In short, it was all about the money.
And it is families who are experiencing the impact of corporate culture inside the child protection system first-hand.
One mum told The Sun:
“It’s totally outrageous. This is a billion-pound industry that these businessmen are making millions from. It’s disgusting. How can this be allowed to happen? I lost my two boys and social services can say parents don’t have enough money to look after their children but then pay out thousands and thousands to look after children.”
Another mum detailed her experience of the sector:
“It’s completely wrong – people wouldn’t believe this is how the system works until they have dealt with social services. It’s been horrendous for me and nobody can imagine the pain you go through as a mother.”