The Fostering Network has campaigned for foster care allowances over the course of its more than 40-year history. Following the introduction of minimum allowances for children in foster care in Wales, Northern Ireland and England, Scotland is now the only country in the UK not to have a national minimum allowance.
England, Wales, and Northern Ireland all have national minimum allowances set by their respective governments, but not all fostering services comply. Therefore, every year The Fostering Network checks the allowances paid by all local authorities in England and Wales, and health and social services trusts in Northern Ireland, to ensure they meet national minimum levels, and campaigns for them to be brought up to these levels where they are falling short.
Read our 2018-19 allowances reports:
In 2018 we also surveyed fostering services about foster carer pay, the reports are available here.
Our State of the Nation 2019 report showed that 59% of foster carers don’t feel their allowance meets the costs of looking after a child. We are therefore calling on the Governments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to review the national minimum allowances. We are also campaigning for the introduction of a minimum allowance in Scotland.
Campaign for a minimum fostering allowance in Scotland
Since its inception, The Fostering Network has campaigned for foster care allowances that cover the full costs of looking after a child. England, Northern Ireland and Wales have national minimum allowances, meaning Scotland is now the only country in the UK not to have such a safeguard.
When allowances do not meet the costs of caring for a child, foster carers must dig into their own pockets or see children go without. A national minimum is essential to ensure allowances are set at a satisfactory rate across Scotland.
How you can help
Tell your MSP how important it is that the Scottish Government honour the commitment they have made to foster carers and children in foster care.
We’ve drafted a letter for you to send you MSP.
Background to the campaign
The Scottish Government’s stated ambition is to ‘make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.’ We believe that to achieve this, it is vital that children in foster care do not receive vastly different levels of funding depending on where in Scotland they live.
For over a decade the Scottish Government has been looking at introducing a national minimum allowance and in 2016 the Scottish National Party was elected on a manifesto that pledged to implement one. Since then a national review of care allowances was commissioned; this concluded only that the Government should consider a recommended allowance, and we are still waiting for action.
The delay to implementing a minimum allowance is costing foster carers. Our 2019 State of Scotland’s foster care report revealed that 60% of Scotland’s foster carers say the allowance they receive does not cover the costs of looking after a child.
In 2018-19 the allowance for looking after a child aged 0-4 years varied by a staggering £122.31 a week depending on where a child lives, with some foster carers receiving as little as £77.69. A minimum allowance is urgently needed to end this disparity.
Please support the campaign calling on the Scottish Government to bring Scotland into line with the rest of the UK now.
To find out more about the campaign contact our campaigns team.