Instead foster carers have to ask local authority social workers about such issues, who in turn often require the approval of a senior manager, the Fostering Network said in a statement.
This can lead to ‘unnecessary delays’ meaning fostered children often miss out, and ‘in some cases can be bullied because the decision making process sets them apart from other children’.
Robert Tapsfield, chief executive at the Fostering Network, said: ‘We hear far too many examples of children missing out on the essential experiences of childhood because their foster carers are not allowed to make basic decisions. One girl wanted to go on a school trip, but because it took 16 weeks for the local authority to give permission she couldn’t go. That is ridiculous and the system has to change.
‘Local authorities should see delegating more authority to foster carers as a positive step as it will free up time for social workers and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy.’
The Fostering Network has called for day-to-day decision making to be automatically delegated to foster carers ‘unless otherwise specified’, and all four UK governments to run programmes to help local authorities to put this into practice.