Each year The Fostering Network surveys local authorities across the UK to get a picture of how much money is being provided to foster carers to cover the cost of looking after a fostered child.
All foster carers receive a weekly fostering allowance from their fostering service when they have a child in placement, which is designed to cover the cost of caring for a fostered child. This includes food, clothes, toiletries, travel and all other expenses incurred and varies depending on the age of the child. Some foster carers also get a fee for their time, skills and experience however, these reports focus purely on the allowances given to the foster carer to cover the costs of looking after a fostered child.
Each year The Fostering Network surveys local authorities (independent fostering providers are not included in these surveys although they do also provide allowances for their foster carers) to ensure that they meet the national minimum levels and campaign for them to be brought up to these levels where they are falling short. Please visit our Make Foster Care Fair campaigns page to find out more.
England, Wales, and Northern Ireland all have national minimum fostering allowances set by their respective governments. In Scotland, the Government is yet to set national minimum allowances, despite a long-term commitment to do so and years of campaigning by The Fostering Network and others. We surveyed local authorities by checking their websites and submitting freedom of information requests where the information was not readily available. The findings are written up in separate nation reports.
Allowances reports 2019-20
This year we also asked local authorities about the allowances they provide former foster carers in 18+ care arrangements (or 16+ in the case of Continuing Care arrangements in Scotland). The data from this survey for England will be published in a forthcoming report.
*The Health and Social Care Trusts were not surveyed; however, this document provides this year's rates with a recommendation.
- The Scottish Government must introduce and fund a minimum recommended allowance for foster carers.
- All governments should review the level of the national minimum allowance for foster carers to ensure the level is sufficient to provide high quality care for children and to cover foster carers’ expenses. Fostered children should enjoy a decent standard of living sufficient to promote their wellbeing and development, be treated as favourably as other members of the fostering household, be able to participate fully in their community, and maintain appropriate contact with their family.
- All fostering services should set their foster care allowances at a level that meets or exceeds the respective Government’s national minimum allowance for foster carers.
- The administration of fostering payments must be transparent so it is clear to foster carers how much money constitutes the allowance, and thus must be spent on the child, and how much constitutes the fee and is a payment given for the foster carer’s time and skills.
Previous years' reports:
2017-18: In this round we also surveyed fostering services about foster care pay, these reports are available here.
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