UK Foster Carer's Allowance
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UK FOSTER CARERS PAY
HOW MUCH DO FOSTER CARERS GET PAID?
The 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.
PAY + Allowances
How much For Fostering?
Foster carers are classed as self-employed and earn a weekly fee from the Allowance paid for each child or young person they look after. The amount of allowance paid depends on the type of care and the age of the child or young person.
On average, national Private (Independent) Fostering Agencies pay a basic weekly fostering allowance and fee of £450 per week, for all ages of foster children. The payment is generally the same for short and long term placements.
Foster carers are also paid a variety of expenses.
The Different Agency Pay Rates
Foster care pay rates are not regulated by the government so each private agency or local authority can decide how much they pay their carers.
This lack of regulation is why underfunded councils can pay the minimum recommended rates and why private agency rates can be much more generous.
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 payment 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) 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 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. The 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 2||Age 3 to 4||Age 5 to 10||Age 11 to 15||Age 16 to 17|
|Rest of England||£137||£140||£154||£175||£205|
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 you local Benefits office for advice about 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.
Importance of Agency Support
Being A Foster Carer
Your Fostering Agency should support you by:
- Making sure you feel a valued member of the child’s support team
- Being clear about what you are expected to do and your responsibilities as a foster carer
- Helping you to always be part of the fostering decisions with social workers made for children
- Matching you as well as possible to the foster children placed with you
- Making sure you are well trained and supported
- Developing your confidence to say no to a placement
- Always being involved in plans about children’s contact with their family
- Always believing you are able to ask for help and advice
- Always able to question decisions
- Giving you enough information before a child comes to you
- Making sure you are aware of the child’s needs, behaviours and background when children arrive
- Making sure you earn a fair and reasonable income as a full time or part-time carer.
We believe that:
- Foster carers must be recognised, valued and paid as the experts who best know the children they foster care for; their views must always be taken into consideration and foster carers must be able to contribute fully to the care and plans for fostered children.
Being a foster carer is no longer seen as volunteering, it is now a professional career.
For Agencies to encourage people to become foster carers, they need to provide an acceptable level of financial reward, just the same as for any other workers in the social care sector.
A foster carer will have a massive effect on children’s lives, helping them to improve their self-esteem, make better choices and help children to go on to have a safer and happier future, but social services know that for fostering to continue, carers have to be paid a reasonable fee.
We at Simply Fostering are focused on finding and encouraging people from all walks of life to become foster carers and for the right person, fostering could be a rewarding new career, funded by an attractive fostering allowance and rate of pay with very low tax rates. Read more here: Help and Support for Foster Parents.Gov
To help we provide a free online UK Fostering Application Service which helps you to apply for fostering and get the best start in the fostering process.
Can fostering children be a full-time job?
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 or salary.
Find out more about Tax and Allowances.
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