A BRADFORD foster carer has said there has been a ‘seismic shift’ in the way they are being dealt with by Bradford Council.

The Council has responded stating it is not being complacent and has ‘more to do’.

Jane Collins, from Shipley, who is also vice-chairman of the IWGB Foster Care Workers’ Union, has fostered since 2012.

As the nation embraces Foster Care Fortnight, which ends on May 26, she said she has seen a shift in the service since Bradford Children’s Services was branded ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted last year.

“The inadequate Ofsted rating came as no surprise. I had been raising the alarm for several years, and a previous Telegraph & Argus report from February 2017 detailed how my microphone was turned off in City Hall when I tried to publicly raise concerns.

“I was one of a number of whistleblowers when Ofsted inspected last October. We desperately needed change for our foster children and to prevent the “collapse of the fostering service within two years” as detailed in Mike Cowlam’s damning report.

“I continued to challenge Bradford Children’s Services via external regulators and professional bodies and a strong and brave collective voice rose up from amongst Bradford’s foster care workers, who were determined to improve things for the children in our care. It’s safe to say that this process has been difficult and fraught with resistance and conflict, but we persevered, because we knew that it had to be done as children’s services had hit rock bottom, and Ofsted agreed with our view.

“Over the past two months there has been a seismic shift. Our voices are finally being heard, valued and respected. We are now treated as valued members of the team and legislation, policies and procedures are complied with, bad practice is challenged and the voices of our foster children are heard and valued.”

Ms Collins said works with local authorities and independent fostering service providers all over the UK and voiced her concerns during a speech in Parliament last September on again on March 18 this year to the country’s top employment law barristers and a cross party group of MPs .

“I deal with bad practice from fostering services all over the UK every day of the week. I’m very proud to be able to say that my own fostering service is now light years ahead of the rest and the gold standard for everyone else to aspire to.”

Gladys Rhodes White, Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services, said: “Foster carers play a hugely important part in caring for vulnerable children in our district so we welcome this recognition that we are making positive improvements in this area.

“We’re not complacent and we know we have more to do, but we believe we’re putting the right foundations in place for fostering and we’re determined to build on this.”