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