Simply Fostering

Fostering Allowance

How Much Do Foster Carers Get Paid 2023?

  • Independent Fostering Agencies pay a Fee and Fostering Allowance for each child
  • The Allowance pays for the foster child’s day to day care
  • Independent Agencies also pay foster carers a professional Fee
  • The Fee is an income payment for the foster carer
  • The Allowance and Fee average a total weekly minimum payment of £450 

Payments for Respite or Emergency foster care are calculated per night and are based on the weekly fee paid for short term or long term placements.

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Breakdown of Carer's Allowance

Foster carer with one foster child
Cindy is a foster carer looking after 12 year old Joe. She has just started fostering and receives a fostering allowance of £450 per week.

For the year, Cindy is paid:

(£450 x 52 weeks)     =             £23,400

Taxable income          =             £0

Total paid                    =             £23,400

About Local Authority (Council) Foster Carer’s Allowances.
Local Authorities generally use recommended, national fostering pay rates for each foster child. Council (LA) foster carers are paid a weekly fostering allowance to cover the cost of foster care for a child or children. England and Northern Ireland councils use the recommended rates. Wales is considering its own and Scotland does not use the rates, however, they can be used as a guideline.

The total pay is structured to separate to the allowance for the child, and reward for the carer.

The 2023 payment is provided to cover the following:
General household expenses, food, clothing, mileage, school meals and any other items or outings required to look after a foster child. This payment takes into account the fact that foster care for children cost more than caring for birth children.

The Fostering Network, the UK’s largest charity has estimated the following weekly child maintenance costs.


Most national IFAs pay foster carers up to double the standard rate, depending on children’s needs and the type of placement required, such as :

teenagers; mother and baby; children with special needs; asylum-seeking children.

The additional payments cover the extra cost of the child’s pocket money clothing, transport and social allowances which ensures the Independent Fostering Agency’s allowance provides a basic minimum fee (or profit element) of about £200 (non-taxable) to an average of £250 per child per week.

This enables foster carers to become self-employed, earn a reasonable living and choose to care for children and young people on a full or part-time basis.

Generally, Local Authorities and Agencies make their payments directly into the carer’s bank account every two weeks.

Foster Carer’s Basic Weekly Reward or Profit Element for each Placement:

  • 0-4 years £285.95
  • 5-10 years £285.95
  • 11-15 years £245.00
  • 16+ years £204.40

The payments are based on the daily estimated costs of each foster child in placement. The extra payments and expenses that foster carers can claim increase with a child’s age so the profit element levels out across placement ages to about £310 for each placement.

 Age 0 to 2Age 3 to 4Age 5 to 10Age 11 to 15Age 16 to 17
South East£156£160£176£200£232
Rest of England£142£145£159£180£210

Private Fostering is when the parent of the child has made an arrangement with another adult (private foster carer) to care for their child. The parent is responsible for any money paid to the private foster carer. The foster carer is responsible for receiving all of the welfare benefits they are entitled to; such as Child Tax Credit, Child Benefit and Housing Benefit.

If the local authority social services assess the child as ‘in need’, they may provide more financial support.

Carers don’t usually pay tax up to £25.000 a year to foster a child and any Benefits received are not taken into account. However, this might not be the case if you are treated for Tax and National Insurance purposes as though you were self-employed, IF YOU ARE, contact your local Benefits office for advice about YOUR Allowances and Tax Returns. Go to Foster Carers Tax page for more information.

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. As a self-employed person you will need to pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions, which are under £3.00 a week.




What you can earn as a Foster Carer

As a Foster Carer you will receive a non taxable Fostering Allowance. This is to cover the costs associated with caring for the foster children in your care and your pay as a professional Foster Carer.  Below our calculators illustrate the total amount you could receive over a 12 month period, then splits this down into the typical costs to support the foster placement(s) and the money you could earn as a foster carer.

As we say … “No two Fostering Agencies are the same”, this includes what rates they pay to their Fostering Carers. Therefore these calculators are a typical example and not guaranteed.

Not every placement is the same which will affect the income you receive. Find out more here allowances.

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