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Fostering Allowance

Independent (Private) Fostering Agencies (IFAs)

On average, Independent Fostering Agencies pay a basic weekly foster care allowance and fee of £380 per week for all ages of foster children.

Some IFAs also pay foster care enhanced payments of up to double their standard rate, dependent on the needs of the foster children, such as :

  • Parent and child placements; Children with special needs; Remand placements.

Local Authorities (Councils) (LAs)

The Local Authority payment structure has Nationally recommended rates for each foster child. Foster carers are paid a weekly amount to cover the cost of foster care for a child or children.

LA Fostering Allowance 2014 to 2015:

UK Base

Babies: £119 Pre Primary: £122 Primary: £134 11 to 15: £154 16 to 17: £179

South East

Babies: £131 Pre Primary: £135 Primary: £151 11 to 15: £171 16 to 17: £201

London

Babies: £137 Pre Primary: £140 Primary: £157 11 to 15: £178 16 to 17: £209

The payment is provided to cover the following:

Household costs, food, clothes, travel, school dinners and any other things required to look after a foster child. The payment takes into account the fact that foster care for children cost more than caring for birth children.

In addition to the allowance other payments may be made to foster carers, depending on their experience and qualifications. These payments are often between £50 and £200 per week. Generally, Local Authorities pay their allowances directly into the carer's bank account every two weeks. Local Authorities tend to have different finance for short break carers.

In receipt of Benefits?

The general position of foster carers is that any payments received regarding fostering will be disregarded for benefits purposes. However, this will not be the case if you are treated for Tax and National Insurance purposes as though you were self-employed when you should seek further advice from your local Benefits office.

As a foster carer, you will not be able to claim Child Tax Credit or Child Benefit for a child if you are in receipt of a fostering allowance. However you may be able to claim Working Tax Credit if you are receiving the reward element and you are treated as self employed. If you are putting in a claim for this, seek professional advice first.

Foster carers may be in a position to claim any of the following benefits, according to circumstances:

  • Income Support
  • Income-Based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Working Tax Credits

Affording to foster children

Being a foster carer is no longer seen as a voluntary service. In order to recruit and retain carers, they need to be financially rewarded as any other workers in social care.

Local Authorities and Independent Fostering Agencies provide fees and allowances to enable foster carers to care for children and young people on a full-time basis. Find more details about Fostering and Welfare Benefits.

Is Foster Caring a career?

Can fostering children be a full time job?

Yes. It is usually expected that a foster carer will become available full time. Generally, the more available you are, the more foster care placements you will be offered.

If you would like us to support you with an application to become a carer or you just require further information, contact us.

Choosing the right Fostering Agency

If you decide to take the next step towards becoming a foster carer, use our free Agency Matching Service which finds the best agencies with vacancies for you depending on your circumstances.

As a potential foster carer, it is important that you get fostering right first time by choosing the right agency which will offer you the best training, support and pay - this is where we can help so make an enquiry today!

 

Simply Fostering - Recruiting Carers

Timescales

In our experience, Local Authorities take six months and Independent Fostering Agencies take an average of four months to complete the assessment. However Local Authorities are catching up.

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Foster care course

As your application proceeds you will be invited to attend a training course, most  Agencies use the Fostering Network course called "Skills to Foster".

Foster Care in the UK.

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Assessment

The social worker will visit you and your family at home. It is important that you discuss your plans with your children at an early stage and check out how they feel about being part of a fostering family.

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Why foster care in UK?

People become foster carers because they are committed to giving children a safe and secure home. Stella, a carer told us "fostering has given me the opportunity to give youngsters a chance at family life. My kids had left home, I had the space and because I had thought about fostering for a while I took the plunge. I look after teenagers now who I help to move on to independance. It's hard sometimes but I love it!"

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Fostering as a career

Fostering can be a career. Some Agencies are prepared to pay retainers between placements to experienced foster carers and there is a growing need for carers who are prepared to foster children and young people on a long term basis, as well as permanently.

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Who can be a carer?

Carers come from all walks of life, different backgrounds, experiences, lifestyles, ages and occupations. To be a foster carer you will need to be flexible, understanding and want to learn new skills. A good sense of humour helps.

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Online form

If you are serious about considering becoming a foster carer and would like to find out more about how to foster care in the UK, contact us to use our free service by  completing our confidential online form.

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What we do

Simply Fostering will monitor all enquiries and if we feel it would be of help to you if you supplied more information, we will contact you by email.

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In confidence

We value confidentiality. We understand that people are concerned about providing personal information on the internet.

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Income tax exemption

Foster carers are entitled to an income tax exemption up to a certain threshold for their fostering. The threshold has two elements:

  • A fixed amount to cover capital costs initially set at £10,000 per year
  • An additional amount per child, initially set at £200 per week for a child up to the age of 11years and £250 per week for a child aged 11 years and over.

The reason for this government initiative is to make sure carers are not unfairly taxed on the expenses they incur through fostering. For more information contact HM Revenue and Customs

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Choosing the best Fostering Agency

Before enquiring or applying to become a foster carer, make sure that you choose the right agency for you and your family by using our free Agency Matching Service. Contact us today.

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Any further questions you would like answered please contact Simply Fostering through our contact us form.

How to foster children | Foster a child | How to be a foster carer