Do an online search for are "foster parents in it for the money" and you will get hundreds if not thousands of search results from around the world. Foster parents will venomously deny they are in it for the money, while adults who were once in care as children usually have a different story to tell.
The foster care industry in the United Kingdom appears to be predominantly subcontracted to agencies by the local authorities, who then make healthy profits, sometimes in the millions
from vulnerable children.
These agencies don't pay chump change, and attract much-needed foster parents with average wages of £450 tax-free
per week, per child. And it doesn't stop there, they also pay for or towards clothing, holidays, summer camps, travel costs, toys and even birthday celebrations.
An individual foster parent or couple could make a staggering £45,000+ per year for fostering just two children.
With such ridiculous amounts of money on offer for what could be a very cushy "job" it's no surprise that it attracts bottom of the barrel scum who see it as an easy way to make money.
There are no special or over-the-top requirements to become a foster parent. As long as your 21 or older (though you can be 18 to apply), are financially sound, own your own house with at least one spare bedroom, and have no serious criminal records the rest is down to sweet talking those who are reviewing your application.
I do not want to distract from the fact that there are some amazing people who foster children who have been made homeless or parentless, for whatever reason, but after spending 18 months living next door to 2 foster parents who can only be described as pure scum its plain to see just how easy the system can be abused and more worrying how vulnerable children can be placed with unscrupulous individuals.
This Is My Story
Me and my family moved into what we thought was our new dream home just over 18 months ago, where we enjoyed a good two months without any neighbours on either side due to the lengthy process of buying a new home.
It was practically paradise with peace and quiet every single day.
The first neighbours moved in on the one side, a young couple, who had a dog and three children. We initially thought, oh, the peace and quiet is about to come to an end, but it turned out they are great neighbours and fantastic parents who do normal, loving things with their children.
About a month later, the foster parents arrive. I had preconceived notions that these two individuals would be squeaky clean and highly respectable. After all, you wouldn't expect anything less.They weren't and were more on par with Wayne and Waynetta from Harry Enfield and Chums.
This particular couple are aged between their mid-20s and early 30s and have one biological child of their own. She's a stay-at-home mum who appears to do very little, while he works in the construction industry, Monday to Friday.
Financially, they appear to be doing extremely well, with a brand-new house, two cars, including a £30,000 Range Rover, Sky television and an abundance of children's toys, many of which are scattered over the front and back garden and a selection of caged animals such as guinea pigs, rabbits and birds.
To our knowledge, they've now been fostering a 10-year-old boy for approximately two years, but have added to their portfolio since the house upgrade with other children regularly coming and going.
Because their biological child is only about three years old, it means only preteen foster kids with a good temperament can be placed with this particular family for safety reasons.
The Nightmare Begins
The foster parents only lived roughly 5 minutes up the road in a terraced two-bedroom affordable housing development. They sold their house for £120,000 and bought a spacious four bedroom detached house next door to us for £300,000.
Despite everybody in the row being so friendly and meeting one another within a couple of days of moving in, we were first introduced to the male foster parent due to loud antisocial music at 10:30 PM coming directly from his garage, which had been swiftly turned into a gym.
Due their unfriendly nature and a barrage of different and shady looking people going in and out of the house on a daily basis, we weren't actually aware of what she looked like until around a month later after we had to make yet another complaint about loud music being played from his garage, which is barely 3 feet away from our house.
Loud Music to Antisocial Dogs
Despite fostering young kids, they also have two out-of-control feral dogs, one in particular who likes barking at fresh air roughly 20-30 times a day 30 seconds at a time, anywhere from 6 AM to 11 PM.
We have since found out, that their previous neighbours had to endure constant barking from these antisocial dogs on a daily basis, until they finally moved to their new detached house next to us.
We've also learnt that the dogs were once used for the barbaric sport of badger baiting by their previous owners.
Yup, two aggressive and antisocial dogs are in daily contact with foster kids.
In the dogs favour, most of the antisocial problems they display is probably down to the fact that they are rarely if ever walked by their owners, instead spending 99% of the time, locked up in the house or garden.
Despite subtle hints to full complaints about the dog barking, it appears that being responsible dog owners is just a bridge too far for these foster parents.
Treat Your House like a Landfill Site
New houses are low maintenance with compact gardens containing nothing more than a small lawn and a few shrubs. These two however, don't appear to know what a lawn mower looks like, let alone a pair of secateurs.
When it comes to recycling these two foster parents haven't grasp the idea that waste and recyclable material goes inside the boxes and bins, but instead use their driveway, which borders our house as an open landfill site
They do in all fairness eventually put their rubbish in the bin prior to collection day, but because they're too lazy to take their bins and boxes back in on the day they've been emptied it ends up back on the driveway, until one of them finally decides that they can just about walk a hundred feet and collect them.
The Odd Couple
Despite both of them being "foster parents" they appear to live completely separate lives. She's a stay-at-home "mum" while he he works roughly between the hours of 7 AM and 4 PM, and then spends virtually every evening and weekend, flexing his muscles either down the local gym, or occasionally in his garage, which of course we have to listen to.
When they are at home together, we often hear blunt language to full-blown arguments, either in the garden or on the driveway.
We've never seen them as a couple, chatting to other neighbours. In fact, I think, we are the only ones who have ever gotten more than five minutes of conversation out of them, predominantly for the wrong reasons.
I do in many ways feel slightly sorry for her, because he is clearly the dominant alpha male completely obsessed with himself and his lifestyle, with little or no interest in offering a balance family life.
Shout and Swear at Your Foster Child
They don't just use blunt and crude language towards each other, but the foster kids they foster are also in the firing line, particularly the 10-year-old boy.
On multiple occasions I've heard her say to the boy "shut the fuck up", or "get off the fucking bed". I've also heard him multiple times shout violently at the child, even if the language was less crude.
Sure, everybody loses their temper from time to time, and being a good parent involves being strict, but shouting and using vile language towards a vulnerable child isn't.
Do As Little As Possible
There are parks, reservoirs, sports fields, coastlines and even forests all within a 10 to 30 minute drive from our location. Basically, nice places, where you should be taking children to on a regular basis.
Instead she literally sits on her derriere all day, even through half terms and summer holidays. Things are no different on the weekend when he should be home with the kids, but as mentioned earlier, he's more occupied with the gym and doing disappearing acts.
Even cooking nutritious meals appears to be a bridge too far for this particular couple, instead fast-food deliveries are a daily occurrence.
The fact that these two can't do normal family things, especially on the weekends, undoubtably exposes them as complete frauds who are only interested in doing the bare minimum for their weekly paycheck.
Suspected Drug Abuse and/or Mental Health Issues
Neither of the two foster parents are the full shilling, but we now have strong suspicions that the male foster parent may be on drugs and/or has serious mental health issues.
As mentioned earlier, he's a obsessive fitness fanatic, and spends most of his free time searching for that perfect body. When he is at home, he has a severe case of ants in his pants, where he regularly disappears for 1 to 2 hours at a time in the car, only to return and repeat the process over again. This goes on from 5 AM in the morning right up to 11 AM at night, seven days a week.
He is also extremely arrogant, short tempered and has a sweaty skin appearance. After some research, he definitely displays strong symptoms of anabolic steroid abuse, which is common amongst those with body dysmorphia.
Recently, we were subjected to extreme threats of violence after confronting him for playing loud music from his car late at night, directly under our bedroom window. The police were called, yet we have no idea whether the incident was passed on to social services
There are bad eggs littered throughout British society, whether it's those who fake bad backs, claim they have chronic depression or become carers yet do no caring, there's literally millions cheating a system that's intended to help the most vulnerable.
You would hope that the foster care system would be impervious to abuse, but it appears it has an extremely weak front line.
Abuse within the foster care system is nothing new, and they have been some horrific cases through the decades right up to the present day, where children have been subjected to physical and sexual abuse by lowlife's whose job was to care for them.
I've heard a few tales from family, work colleagues and neighbours who have all known foster parents over the years who have openly boasted that they've been able to have expensive holidays, home improvements and lots of luxuries thanks to fostering.
I've now seen with my own eyes how very true that can be. How unscrupulous individuals can so easily get into the fostering business, and pick up large paychecks, despite being woefully inadequate for the job.
The problem is that social services make it far too easy for these individuals to get into and stay in the fostering business. Part of the approval process is to get a couple of references from families and friends, but there are always going to be positive, whether true or not.
I see a social worker visit the house next door at least once a fortnight, but they've never visited me or my partner in 18 months despite being neighbours. Why? Surely, to get a full and accurate picture of the people you've approved, you should be having a brief conversation with one or more neighbours at least once every six months. Instead, social services are just giving those they've approved the ability to pull the wool over their eyes.
It's the same thing when I had to call the police due to violent threats. Did the police record my complaint and pass it on to social services? If not, why? If they did, why haven't social services contacted me for the full story?
Despite my criticism, I don't expect the two foster parents to be faultless. I don't expect them to be superhuman. I can even sympathise how challenging fostering kids can be. But it's so frustrating to witness two dysfunctional individuals offer nothing more than a roof and several fast-food meals to vulnerable children day after day.
It really is a case of do the bare minimum, collect a paycheck, and pretend you're the perfect family to the social worker.
These two are not just abusing the foster care system, but also the taxpayer, and sadly they are not alone.