Mayor fumes over ‘amateur’ foster carers claim

Cllr Andrew Lynn, also a foster parent, said a councillor calling foster carers amateur on any level “cannot be acceptable”.

Wisbech Mayor Cllr Andrew Lynn, also a foster parent, said a councillor calling foster carers amateur on any level “cannot be acceptable”. - Credit: Wisbech Town Council

His voice trembling with emotion, Wisbech mayor Andrew Lynn launched a scathing attack on a Cambridgeshire councillor who had described some foster carers as “amateur”. 

Cllr Lynn, a town and district councillor, was addressing Cambridgeshire County Council during a public question and answer session.  

He reminded members that a recent meeting, Cllr Phillipa Slatter, vice chair of the corporate parenting subcommittee, “on more than one occasion described foster carers as ‘amateur’ 

“Foster carers provide a vital and valuable role for children in Wisbech and across the county and they are rightly valued for their contribution to children’s welfare throughout the country”. 

Cllr Lynn said foster carers was trained up to a diploma level 3 in caring for children and young people. 

He asked council leader Lucy Nethsingha to “firstly, unequivocally” repudiate the comment. 

He also asked for the council to confirm their support for foster carers and to invite Cllr Slatter “to carefully consider their choice of words in the future to avoid causing offence to this highly valued group”. 

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Committee chair Cllr Bryony Goodliffe said she placed on record the council’s “most sincere admiration for the professionalism of foster parents”. 

Cllr Goodliffe said the vice chair was trying to distinguish between very small residential homes that might have up to three children with foster carers who might look after a similar number. 

Amateur, she said, was used in the context of foster parents v employees in foster homes and her vice chair was exploring the type of care in each.  

Cllr Goodliffe said Cllr Slatter had “immediately apologised for any offence she had unintentionally caused by her choice of words”. 

Cllr Lynn said the vice chair calling foster carers amateur on any level “cannot be acceptable”. 

He felt the vice chair was “fundamentally prejudiced against foster carers and the role they fulfil”. 

Refusing to withdraw some of his own comments, Cllr Lyn argued he did not see them as any less defamatory than the remarks that had been made about foster carers.  

“I am not here for pleasure,” he said. “It has upset me”. 

He said if councillors recognised the role of foster caring better “you might understand how I feel”.