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21 November 2018

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75,000 kids in foster care - and counting: end cuts and for-profit care

Capitalism sees foster kids as commodities, photo Matt J Newman/CC

Capitalism sees foster kids as commodities, photo Matt J Newman/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Kris O'Sullivan, former foster child, Birmingham Central Socialist Party

"Fostering sector ripe for consolidation... fostering is a growth market... private equity and other companies have been attracted to the sector largely because they can see the potential for cost savings..."

These were the thoughts of the Financial Times back in 2013. Translation? Children going into care are seen as a profit opportunity by capitalist vultures.

And business is good. The numbers of looked-after children rose to 75,420 this year, a 4% increase according to the Department for Education.

Austerity is the main driver of the rising number of children in care, as more and more families cannot cope financially. Social issues such as neglect and abuse also play a major role.

But also, the profit motive of privately owned care firms - mirrored in the business model of charity care firms - sees kids as commodities, risking a perverse incentive to put more into care.

Since 2010, savage austerity cuts have gutted already underfunded frontline services, and devastated local council welfare provision. This has pushed working-class and poor families to breaking point - and break they have.

Youth services destroyed, after-school programmes cut, nurseries privatised.

Draconian benefit sanctions, women's refuges disappearing, and widespread destruction of our welfare state. It all means a steady supply of children with price-tags for the private equity firms pulling the strings.

My own old foster care company, Foster Care Associates, was recently sold off to a private equity firm whose holdings include a leading company in pig slaughter. I'm sure they're only thinking about the kids' welfare'.

Who is to blame? The Tories and their austerity for sure - and Labour councils passing on the Tory cuts without a fight. And that's not even to mention Tony Blair's legacy: privatisation, opening up foster care to 'market forces'.

For the true welfare and protection of looked-after children we need foster care brought into public ownership, and all the cuts reversed. Councils have the power to start this now by using reserves and borrowing to make up the shortfall and building campaigns to win the money back.

The Tory government and its Blairite enablers must go. To solve the problems in foster care, we need a general election now. A Corbyn-led government, with socialist policies to end austerity, must commit to fully funded public ownership of the care sector.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 21 November 2018:


What we think

Tories Out! General election Now!

May's government limps on... Corbyn and unions must call urgent, mass action


International socialist news and analysis

How can Trump be defeated?

Spanish state: Over one million students strike against sexism and for inclusive sex education

Political turmoil in Sri Lanka


News

Even UN slams Tory poorhouse Britain

Housing arrears double, suicide risk soars - scrap Universal Credit!

75,000 kids in foster care - and counting: end cuts and for-profit care

Them & Us

What we saw


Workplace news

Save the high street: public ownership, not ghost malls

'Worker's death could happen again' at Leicester plastic factory

Arriva Rail North under pressure after nineteenth Saturday strike

Indefinite dinner ladies' and teaching assistants' strike

Hamilton posties walk out against bullying

Tube strike solid against victimisation


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Save our NHS - oust the Tory wreckers!

Solidarity with Irish rape trial protests

Thousands march against racism - now Corbyn and unions must take lead

Mansfield council must step in to save miners' park

Stop Nottingham Labour's cuts to disabled travel!

Step up fundraising for the Xmas Collectathon!


Opinion

Nothing to offer from the Blairites

The Socialist inbox


 

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Cuts:

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Austerity:

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Welfare state:

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Article dated 21 November 2018

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