For Immediate Release:
Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden, secured a meeting for the East Sussex Foster Care Association with the Children’s Minister, Nadhim Zahawi MP.
The wide-ranging meeting discussed central government spending on foster care, the criteria for taking children into care, the shortage of foster carers, educational and mental health provision for those in care, and care for those children with Special Education Needs.
The meeting was particularly focussed on the East Sussex area, with the three representatives of ESFCA providing insights gleaned from their decades of selfless commitment to at-risk children.
Nusrat Ghani, MP for Wealden, said:
“At a meeting in Forest Row, Tina shared her experience of working in the foster care system.
“I was particularly concerned with the examples that she raised of in-care children being excluded from school, denied access to mental health services, and the increased level of complex mental and social health needs of children in the care system.
“Having previously worked with Barnardo’s on child sexual exploitation, and also on children in the care system, I felt it was very important for East Sussex Foster Care Association to have its concerns heard at the highest levels of government, so I convened a briefing meeting with the Children’s Minister.
“I am in awe of the work done by the ESFCA, and its members.
“Throwing your home open with little-to-no warning, and providing for every single need of children with tragic and complex histories is something that must never be overlooked, and is something done with great warmth by these inspirational people every day.
“I was pleased to be able to secure ESFCA a meeting with Nadhim Zahawi MP, the Children’s Minister, so that they could bring their concerns directly to him.
“I look forward to seeing this charity continue to go from strength to strength, and would like to thank Councillor Francis Whetstone for bringing them to my attention.”
Tina, one of the Foster Carers present, said:
“It was a pleasure to meet with the Children’s Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, and to raise such important issues with him.
“His willingness to listen to us talk ‘from the front line’ – warts and all – was enormously appreciated.
“His honesty about the funding issues being faced by local authorities was also refreshing.
“We look forward to welcoming him to visit East Sussex County Council in the Autumn to meet Foster Carers, Social Workers and Looked-After Children.
“This meeting was productive, but there is more to be done, and we will be engaging with him further on a wide range of issues: from supporting looked-after children with special educational needs, through to ensuring that foster children’s savings are properly protected.
“Thank you to Nus for arranging the meeting. She took a real interest in our work and went out of her way to 'make it happen'.”