How much are the foster care payments?
Private fostering agency allowances…
On average, Private (Independent) Fostering Agencies pay a basic weekly fostering allowance and fee of £380 per week, for all ages of foster children.
- Some IFAs also pay foster carers payments of up to double the standard fostering allowance, depending on the needs of the foster children, such as :
- Parent and child placements;
- Children with special needs;
- Remand placements.
Local Authority fostering allowances
Local Authority payments have recommended, national rates for each foster child. Foster carers are paid a weekly fostering allowance to cover the cost of foster care for a child or children.
LA Fostering Allowance for 2014 to 2015:
Babies: £119 Pre Primary: £122 Primary: £134 11 to 15: £154 16 to 17: £179
Babies: £131 Pre Primary: £135 Primary: £151 11 to 15: £171 16 to 17:£201
Babies: £137 Pre Primary: £140 Primary: £157 11 to 15: £178 16 to 17: £209
What do the payments cover?
The payment to carers 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.
Generally, Local Authorities and Agencies pay their allowances directly into the carer’s bank account every two weeks.
Affording to foster children
Fostering allowance – fee – experience – qualifications
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. More information visit Foster carers allowances and rewards article.
Foster carers in the UK generally do not pay tax on their fostering income, up to a maximum of £10,000 per placement, plus allowances.
National Insurance contributions
Carers are entitled to Home Responsibility Protection – a way to make sure that you do not get less Basic Retirement Pension, because you decided to look after children at home.
In receipt of Benefits?
Any payments paid to foster carers for fostering, is generally not included, and does not effect Benefits. However, this will not be the case if you are treated for Tax and National Insurance purposes as though you were self-employed, IF YOU ARE, contact you local Benefits office for advice.
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:
- Income Support
- Income-Based Job seeker’s Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Benefit
- Disability Living Allowance
- Working Tax Credits
Take the HMRC e-learning course about tax, National Insurance and profit from fostering.
Can fostering children be a full time job?
Yes. It is usually expected that a foster carer will be available full time. Generally, the more available you are, the more foster care placements you will be offered. It is not classified as ‘real’ employment as foster carers are paid a fostering allowance and not a wage.
Being a foster carer is one of the most rewarding careers out there, but being with the wrong agency can mean not being offered the number or type of placements you expected, which means not having the fostering allowance and income you need.
Take the Simply Fostering test now or take the next step towards becoming a foster carer and use our free Agency Matching Service to help find the most suitable agencies with vacancies in your area, for and your family.
So be sure to receive the best training, allowances and support and make an enquiry today!
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 11 years and £250 per week for a child aged 11 years and over.
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