Recommended allowances

The Fostering Network no longer recommends minimum levels of allowances. Instead we are focusing on campaigning for minimum allowances in Scotland, critiquing national minimum rates and influencing local decision-making, and pushing for more foster carers to be paid a fee for their time, skills and experience.

Why we’re making this change

Recommendations are now made by national governments

We have been campaigning, on behalf of foster carers, for the introduction of allowances since the early 1990s. We were delighted when governmental recommendations for minimum allowances were introduced in England almost a decade ago, followed by Wales in 2011. Minimum rates are also set in Northern Ireland. The Scottish Government has, for several years, committed to making national recommendations in the near future. However there is no timescale for this which is why we are still campaigning for these recommendations in Scotland.

We believe we can have a bigger impact

Having been successful in achieving recognition of the need for official national minimum rates, and in the light of devolution, we now believe that we can play a greater role by critiquing national minimum recommendations and influencing local decision-making about the setting of allowances. We will also be encouraging fostering services who have been using our allowance recommendations to increase their allowances by the rate of inflation each year. Any member foster carers who believe their allowances are being reduced should contact our campaigns team.

We will be campaigning to ensure that allowances reflect the reality of the costs of caring for a fostered child, including the various nuances across the UK, and we will encourage constructive dialogue, consultation and negotiation concerning allowances between foster carers and services at local level.  

In general the levels at which allowances are paid have been improving, especially at the higher end. The problem is that a significant proportion of services still lag way behind others. We now want to particularly focus on ensuring that the rates paid at the lower end are improved. This will mean seeking to improve national governmental minimum rates, and also developing influence and guidance for local use because, except in Northern Ireland, rates are set by individual services. Find out more in our allowances policy.

We will focus our campaigning towards the payment of fees to foster carers

In our State of the Nation’s Foster Care survey of 2021 we found that only around 60 per cent of foster carers receive fees. Of those who do receive fee payments, the fee levels are far from satisfactory for many foster carers.

Foster carers are key members of the professional team involved in the care of looked after children. In our view the payment of no fees and low fees are an injustice which threatens to compromise the quality of foster care. Read our policy on fees for foster carers.