Response to temporary allowance increase in Northern Ireland

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The Fostering Network welcomes the announcement of additional funding to support all foster carers in Northern Ireland during the Covid 19 crisis, made by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) in Northern Ireland last week.

This new funding is in addition to a single payment of £100 per fostering household announced by the board at the end of March and it will put money directly into the fostering household through increasing the weekly allowance for food and household costs by approximately 20 per cent. This funding is for twelve weeks initially, subject to review.

This decision to provide additional financial support to fostering households by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland is a clear acknowledgement that the needs of children and young people in foster care are a high priority and supporting them during this uncertain time is essential.

This announcement is particularly welcome given that foster carers across the UK have told us they are facing increased costs during the coronavirus pandemic but, in many cases, are not receiving any additional financial support.

Director of The Fostering Network in Northern Ireland, Kathleen Toner, said: 'We are working closely with officials in the statutory sector to relay the experiences of fostering families during the pandemic. We are delighted to welcome this additional finance which will help address the financial concerns many foster carers have, and I am pleased this decision has been made swiftly to meet needs as they arise at this challenging time, when it can make a difference.'

The Fostering Network is actively campaigning to change a number of issues currently facing foster carers including those concerning their finances.

Some foster carers have been unable to offer a home to new children during the crisis because of their own or their family’s health and many short break foster carers have been unable to care for children.

For these families we are calling for a retainer to be paid to ensure they can continue to foster and children in foster care can be placed with the family which best meet their needs.

The Fostering Network's #FundFosterCarers campaign calls for governments to ensure foster families are properly financially supported and protected. Foster carers give children love and stability when they need it most, and we must make sure that foster carers also get the support they need.

If you are based in England please email your MP.

The Fostering Network will continue to work with fostering services and governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Read more about our recent campaigns work.