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4.3.9 Fostering Allowances

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  1. Background
  2. Policy Statement
  3. Children in Foster Care

1. Background

Caption: Background table

This chapter sets out the basis on which Fostering Allowances will be paid to foster carers.

See also The Provision of Financial Support to Adopters and Special Guardians and Child Arrangements Order Allowances Procedure
1.2 The Council has a duty under section 23 of the act to provide accommodation and maintenance to any child whom they are looking after. Fostering Allowances are paid to foster carers who have been approved under the regulations to care for children on behalf of the local Authority. Foster carers can be approved and registered with the local authority itself, or by a private fostering agency, from whom the local authority will purchase a placement.
1.3 The amount to be paid to foster carers is not set out in legislation or government guidance, but is to be determined individually by each local authority, or private fostering agency. Consequently there is considerable variation in the allowances payable by different local authorities and private fostering agencies. In order to address this issue, the Fostering Network, a national charity concerned with promoting foster care and improving standards, has for many years produced annual guidance suggesting a minimum level of allowance to foster carers. The suggested allowances are based on research which takes account of the costs of caring for children of different ages, as well as extra costs associated with fostering children who are likely to have additional needs arising from their looked after status. Many local authorities, including East Riding of Yorkshire, have used this guidance in determining their basic fostering allowance.
1.4 There has been, and continues to be, a national shortage of foster carers, which results in great difficulty in ensuring that all children looked after by local authorities are placed with suitable carers who can meet their needs. The demand for good quality foster placements has lead to both local authorities and private agencies developing initiatives, including financial incentives, to aid recruitment and retention of experienced carers. Many of these schemes recognise the considerable management challenge that many looked after children present to carers, and sets out to reward carers for developing their skills, by paying additional payments to the basic allowance.

2. Policy Statement

Caption: Policy Statement

The overall aim of this policy is:

  • To ensure that foster carers are adequately reimbursed for any reasonable expenditure incurred as a consequence of caring for a child on behalf of the council and provide a high standard of care to looked after children by improving their knowledge and understanding of the children's needs, and developing and maintaining their skills to meet them.

3. Children in Foster Care

Caption: section 3, Children in Foster Care
3.1 An allowance will be paid in respect of every child who is looked after by the Council and is placed with a foster carer registered with the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

The allowance will consist of:

  • A basic weekly allowance to cover the cost of accommodating and maintaining the child. The amount of the allowance will take account of the minimum allowance recommended by the Fostering Network;
  • A weekly supplement in respect of any child aged 13 years or over;
  • A weekly fee when the foster carer meets the criteria set out in the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Payment for skills scheme, according to their assessed banding level.
3.3 A birthday allowance, equivalent to one week's basic fostering allowance, will be paid on the occasion of the child's birthday
3.4 An allowance, equivalent to one week's basic fostering allowance, will be paid if the child is in placement at Christmas, or on the occasion of any equivalent religious festival. One payment will be made during any 12-month period.
3.5 A holiday allowance, equivalent to two weeks basic fostering allowance, will be paid for every 12-month period the child is placed with the foster carer. The allowance may be paid during the first 12 months of the child's placement at the discretion of the Child Care Resources Manager.
3.6 An annual bonus will be paid on the anniversary of the approval of the foster carer, subject to the annual review of the carer's approval confirming that satisfactory standards of care and conduct were maintained during the year.
3.7 The amounts payable as basic fostering allowance, teenage supplement, banding fees and annual bonus will be reviewed and determined annually on the 1 April by the Director of Children, Families and Schools, under his or her delegated authority.
3.8 Additional Cost Payments will be made, either as a one-off payment, or as a series of regular payments to foster carers in respect of items related to a specific child's assessed needs which cannot reasonably be met from the basic weekly fostering allowance, and for which there is no other source of funding. Circumstances that may warrant an additional cost payment will be identified by the child's social worker, in accordance with written guidance, and agreed with the Area Manager. The Area Manager will make a recommendation to the Fostering Team Manager who will agree the payment within delegated authority.