Allowances surveys

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 2021-22

In Scotland we surveyed all local authorities and the findings are in this report.

Scotland report

In England we surveyed all local authorities and the findings are in this report.

England report

In Northern Ireland all trusts pay the national allowances and in Wales, allowances are currently subject to a comprehensive review.

 

Scotland recommendations: 

  • The Scottish Government must introduce and fund a national minimum foster care allowance. The levels should be set using up to date evidence to ensure that they cover the full costs of looking after a child.
  • A national minimum allowance should be introduced for Continuing Care arrangements with such an allowance being set using up to date evidence to ensure it is sufficient to cover the cost of looking after a young person.
  • COSLA must work together with the Scottish Government to ensure all arrangements are in place to introduce the national allowance by April 2022.
  • Once a national minimum allowance is introduced, all fostering services should set their allowances at a level that meets or exceeds that national allowance. No foster carer should have their allowance reduced.
  • 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 is a payment given to the foster carer in recognition of their time, skills and experience. 

 

England recommendations: 

  • All fostering services should set their allowances at a level that meets or exceeds the Department for Education’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 is a payment given to the foster carer in recognition of their time, skills and experience.
  • All fostering services should be monitored to ensure that they are paying at or above the national minimum allowance level.
  • The Government should undertake a comprehensive review of the minimum levels of fostering allowances, using up to date evidence, to ensure that foster carers are given sufficient payment that values their unique and critical expertise and skillset and to ensure allowances truly covers the full costs of looking after a child.
  • A national minimum allowance should be introduced for Staying Put arrangements with such an allowance being set using up to date evidence to ensure it is sufficient to cover the cost of looking after a young person.

 

Previous years' reports: 

2020-21: England and Scotland.

2019-20: EnglandWalesScotland and Northern Ireland*

*The Health and Social Care Trusts were not surveyed; however, this document provides this year's rates with a recommendation. 

2018-19: England, Wales and Scotland.

2017-18: In this round we also surveyed fostering services about foster care pay, these reports are available here

 

If you want to get in touch with our policy team about anything from this page please email policy@fostering.net or, if you want to campaign with us to implement change please email campaigns@fostering.net. 

 

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