CFC have considered the recommendations made in the Nyland report and this is our initial response:
Connecting Foster Carers SA, the peak body for foster and kinship families across South Australia is disappointed by the recommendations of the Nyland Commission.
Particularly the failed opportunity to address the fundamental lack of legal rights and recognition of carers; and the provision of binding, autonomous oversight of decisions of FSA that affect carers and the children in their care.
CFC do welcome certain recommendations, in particular:
Recommendation 70 – which prescribes timeframes pursuant to which decisions must be made for children and young people; and
Recommendations 116 and 117 – which acknowledge the need for appropriate advocacy services and clear education material regarding foster parents rights.
The recommendations fail to address what CFC considers to be the key, fundamental issue with respect to its members. They instead reiterate many decades of meaningless rhetoric and continue to increase scrutiny and pressure on already stressed and undervalued carers. Therefore Connecting Foster Carers feels it has no other choice than to consider drastic action to protect the best interests of its members. Connecting Foster Carers accepts that this may include strike* action.
CFC cannot in clear conscience encourage families to be recruited into a system where they have no legal rights or status.
Foster and Kinship families do not seek “Hero status”. We seek “Legal status”.
Connecting Foster Carers is unable to make further comment until the board has an opportunity to meet next week. We believe the recommendations will do little to improve recruitment of new foster families.
* Please note that the well-being of the children in our care always comes first. This would be managed when planning any action.