Private (Independent) Agencies
A typical Private Fostering Agency (IFA’s) pays a basic weekly fostering allowance and fee of £380 per week for all types and ages of children.
Most Agencies also pay enhanced payments of up to double their standard rate, dependent on the needs of the child, such as:
- Parent and child placements;
- Children with special needs;
- Remand placements.
- Asylum seeking children.
The weekly allowance for each child fostered is to cover their living costs such as food, clothes, basic travel and household bills. The allowance includes the foster carer’s payment or ‘reward’, which is about £240 of the £380.
Local Authority (Council) Fostering Agencies
The Fostering Network, the UK’s largest fostering charity, recommended an increase of 2.3 per cent based on the most recent forecast rate of inflation for as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
The minimum allowances for 2014-15:
The allowances are for:
Household costs, food, clothes, travel, school dinners and any other things required to look after a child. The payment takes into account the fact that foster care for children cost more than caring for birth children.
In addition to the fostering allowance other payments may be made to foster carers, depending on their experience and qualifications. These payments maybe between £50 and £200 per week.
Generally, fostering allowances are paid directly into the foster carer’s bank account every two weeks.
Agencies and Local Authorities
Local Authorities and Trusts are legally responsible for the well being of all children in public care and they need to find the best fostering placements, often in an emergency, for children and young people who cannot live with their families.
LAs have difficulties providing enough foster care placements in house due to their shortage of foster carers and therefore look to IFA’s who provide a fostering service to Local Authorities and Trusts and work in partnership with them.
IFA ‘s have their own foster carers, social workers, therapists and education staff who work hard to ensure that the needs of the carers and children are met to high standards and without delay.
Independent Fostering Agencies
Having a big heart may be a prerequisite of successful fostering, but, for many carers, becoming a foster carer is increasingly a specialist career choice requiring expert training, a range of diverse skills and qualifications and, not surprisingly, a reasonable fee in addition to recognised allowances.
Even now, some people question the idea of paying foster carers, saying the real motivation for fostering should be improving children’s lives. But no other profession working with children is expected to do so just out of the goodness of their heart.
Foster carer’s first priority is the children, but foster carers cannot afford to foster without being paid the fees and allowances that are required both to look after foster children properly and to enable foster carers to replace some of the income often lost when deciding to foster.
In order to recruit and retain good foster carers, foster carers should be paid a realistic fee in recognition of their skills and experience, however, in a recent survey of pay conducted in 2006, suggested only around 60 per cent of foster carers working for Local Authorities received any sort of income aside from the basic fostering allowances.
It is important that potential foster carers get fostering right first time and therefore consider carefully who they apply to foster with.
As a potential foster carer, it is important that you find out about the financial aspects of fostering prior to your application to a Fostering Agency, contact us to use our free fostering service.