Foster carers expenses

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Foster carers expenses

Travel allowance

Foster carer’s can claim expenses from their agency or the local authority, in addition to the fostering allowance.
Expenses related to foster children that are outside of the allowance, are usually decided at the Initial Placement Meeting.


Most agencies pay additional mileage costs outside of the fostering allowance, agencies expect their foster carers to pay for:

Appointments with the child’s GP;
School transport within three miles of the foster home;
All social, domestic and leisure trips

Mileage can usually be claimed for:

Formal contact;
Reviews, case conferences and other legal meetings;
Attending carer training;
Hospital consultant or specialist appointments;
School travel beyond a six mile return trip
Special activities.

Out of agency agreement funding for required/special activities for a child is available through the local authority and is arranged by the child’s social worker.

A typical mileage rate is 42p per mile. Foster carers who use public transport can claim the fares back.

Furniture and equipment

Most agencies provide an extra, one off grant for items needed to foster, most usually after a new foster carer is approved. Some agencies provide these on a loan basis. They might include bedroom furniture; wardrobes, beds or bunk beds for  foster children.

Initial clothing grant

Agencies can provide an emergency clothing grant to the carer for children who arrive without enough or appropriate  clothing. The agency usually requests repayment from the child’s social worker. Local authorities pay for any school uniform costs.

Festivities and Events

Agencies provide extra funds, paid to the foster carer, for children’s birthdays, holidays, national holidays and religious festivals

Exceptional educational trips

Out of allowance payments are available to carers for exceptional school holidays and the cost of school trips.

DVLA Disability allowance

The allowance is out of the fostering allowance and foster carers are usually required to keep a separate account of how the DVLA is used.

Retainer allowance

Some agencies pay their foster carers a retainer which is a weekly allowance before a planned placement is made. The retainer is made to secure the fostering placement and to fund any placement meetings.

30 hours free childcare

Children in foster care who are aged 3 or 4 years old will be able to receive 30 hours free childcare, if the following criteria are met:

Accessing the extended hours is consistent with the child’s care plan;

Where these is a single foster parent family, the foster parent is engaging in paid work outside their role as a foster parent;

Where there are two foster parents in the same fostering household, both are engaging in paid work outside their role as a foster parent.

Government Information Leaflet

Carer holidays/respite

Fostering children is a 24 hour job that is demanding at times and, like in any family, it’s sometimes better if everyone has a break.

The national agencies have different policies about how they support their carers with holidays or respite. Some pay carers an extra two weeks allowance a year without strings, others make payments that are aligned with the number of weeks carers have had placements in their home.

Find more information about the national fostering allowances

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