Foster carers receive financial help to cover the costs of looking after a child. A weekly allowance covers day-to-day expenses like clothing, food and the household bills involved in looking after each child. The amount varies depending on the age of the child being fostered.
The amount of basic weekly allowance depends on the age of the child. Allowances are reviewed each year, current 2016/17 amounts are:
- Child aged 0 to 4 years: £126
- Child aged 5 to 10 years: £139.02
- Child aged 11 to 15 years: £159.04
- Child aged 16 to 17 years: £185.01
Payment for skill and experience
Foster carers also receive a payment for the grade of care they provide based on an assessment of their skills and abilities.
- most new carers are approved, complete core training and become 'accredited' foster carers
- some new carers have significant prior experience enabling them to start at a higher grade
- some carers add to their skills by undertaking a range of fostering placements, including children with more complex needs
As carer's skills increase they can be re-assessed to determine which current grade, from 'accredited' to 'advanced', matches the skills they bring to fostering. They then receive an additional payment on top of the weekly allowance, known as a 'capacity payment'.
Current weekly capacity payments are:
|Grade||Skill fee||Capacity payment|
|1 child (£)||2 children (£)||3+ children (£)|
Foster carers can earn up to £25,000 from fostering each year without having to pay tax.
Social work support
We offer a range of support to help foster carers via:
- an allocated 'supervising social worker' who can advise and assist on a regular basis
- the carer's support group, including the child's social worker and other carers
- the informal network of support that grows up between other carers
- an out of hours (weekends and holidays) telephone support line for queries and advice
- our emergency duty team worker, available to provide direct support in a crisis
Basic preparation training is given before becoming a foster carer. The course is run by a supervising social worker from the family placement team and experienced foster carers. It covers issues around looking after children and young people and working with social services.
All foster carers are expected to attend on-going training courses, on a wide range of subjects, from first aid to managing challenging behaviour. These may be day workshops or shorter evening sessions.