Foster carers in Glasgow are calling for an increase in funding to address a decade-long freeze on payments and help bolster the crisis-hit sector.

The carers claim Glasgow City Council’s foster child allowance has remained the same for almost 10 years, with the IWGB trade union claiming this amounts to a 23% cut in real terms.

The union claims carers are struggling to support themselves and the vulnerable children they look after, with many leaving the service after being pushed to breaking point.

Glasgow City Council says it pays higher fostering fees and allowances than the national average, however the IWGB’s foster care workers branch claims the local authority is failing some of its most at-risk children.

Kenny Millard, branch chair, said: “For a decade now Glasgow City Council has failed this city’s most vulnerable children and now dedicated foster carers are being driven either into poverty or out of service all together because they simply cannot afford to continue subsidising that failure.

“An investment in Glasgow’s children is an investment in its future. By ending the freeze Glasgow City Council can help tackle the crisis in foster care, lessen pressure on public services, boost the local economy and give every child in Glasgow the start they deserve.”

According to the IWGB, foster carers are being forced to subsidise the costs of their child themselves as the allowance does not cover it all.

However, they say this is proving more difficult to do as pay has also been frozen in many cases, some for as long as 13 years, equating to a 30% cut in real terms.

Mr Millard added: “Foster carers in Glasgow are underpaid, undervalued and exhausted. The massive cuts to the child allowances and fees mean foster carers are struggling to support themselves and afford basic living costs such as food, heating, and transport, so foster children are more likely to grow up in poverty.

“It’s time to give foster carers a fairer deal. Glasgow city council needs to end the freeze on the child allowances and invest in foster care, for the future of the children and the future of Glasgow.”

Glasgow foster carer Jacqueline McShane said she is only able to foster as she and her partner have another income.

She believes the poor pay and allowance rates may be putting people off becoming, or continuing as, foster carers.

She said: “Being a foster carer is not the same as being a parent. You take in the most vulnerable children in our society with complex support needs that require specialist, round-the-clock care. But the work we do is so undervalued and we have been pushed to breaking point.

“I’m in a fortunate position because we have some other money coming in. If you’re not in that position, you can’t possibly pay for all the things a child needs using the allowance.

“The allowance has been frozen for nine years, but the cost of the clothes, food etc that the children need has increased over that time.

“We want to see an immediate rise in the kids allowance in line with inflation.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said: “Glasgow has been part of discussions with the Scottish Government and Cosla around a national decision on fostering fees and allowances but remains one of the local authorities paying higher than the national average for a number of years.

“Glasgow’s integrated care arrangements continue to shift the balance, where appropriate, towards supporting children in their home environment and aligned to the recent national and Scottish Government Independent Care Review and the Promise.

“We have also commissioned a comprehensive family support strategy and doubled the funding from £2.7m to £5.4m for local family support services.”