Southwark Council has introduced a new leave policy to enable all staff who foster a child to receive an additional five days of paid annual leave in order to meet their care commitments.
The new policy, launched on and immediately effective from 20 May 2019, was introduced as part of the council’s commitment to gain accreditation as a Fostering Friendly employer, delivered by charity The Fostering Network. This scheme acknowledges employers that have made steps to create a supportive environment for current and potential foster carers in the workplace.
Southward Council gained the Fostering Friendly accreditation on the same day as the launch of the new leave policy.
As part of the commitment, accredited organisations must implement an HR policy centred on supporting foster carers, in addition to promoting and encouraging fostering itself.
The accreditation aligns with Southwark Council’s ambition to ensure that all children are looked after in a family setting. The leave policy, meanwhile, recognises that fostered children often have complex needs, and aims to provide carers with the support and flexibility to help them manage this.
The new foster care leave policy was communicated to employees via the staff intranet.
Councillor Peter John (pictured), leader of the council at Southwark Council, said: “I am incredibly proud that Southwark Council achieved Fostering Friendly accreditation. Our foster carers do an amazing job and we want more of our staff to consider fostering.
“It is only right that we support our own staff to foster by creating a supportive atmosphere where their unique needs are recognised and supported.”