Shopping for food, cooking meals, washing clothes. There are many skills that young people need to learn before they are ready to live independently, but managing money is one of the most important.
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Foster carers play a primary role in teaching the young people they care for about managing money and saving.
Opening a bank account is the crucial first step for young people in developing their financial independence, including learning to manage money and use internet and mobile banking. Most young people will have access to a choice of accounts once they turn 11 years old. However, those in foster care can face barriers that make it harder for them to open an account and as a result their financial education can suffer.
Responding to the article in Sunday’s Observer newspaper about the “cash crisis pushing child services to tipping point”, Jackie Sanders, director of communications and public affairs at The Fostering Network, said: ‘It comes as absolutely no surprise that the local government association in England and others are calling for urgent investment into the children’s social care system.
The survey, CUTS - the view from foster carers (England): the impact of austerity measures on fostered children and the families that care for them, carried out in February 2016, highlighted the negative impact of local authority budget cuts in a number of areas, including practical and financial support for foster carers, children’s access to their social workers and other services, especially mental health services.
We are delighted to announce a new partnership with The Mortgage Brain, who are taking over from Endsleigh to provide specialist mortgage advice to our foster carer members and a discounted arrangement fee for a completed mortgage. Advisers at The Mortgage Brain have helped many foster carers secure mortgages over the past five years and they are looking forward to helping our members find the right mortgage for them.
The local authority will be required to evidence that each staying put arrangement meets ‘basic standards’. It is the local authority’s responsibility to provide (whether directly or through commissioned services) support to both the young person and to the former foster carers. This includes foster carers approved and supported by independent fostering providers. The levels of support to be provided should take account of the individual circumstances and needs.
10 key questions to ask a potential insurer
- I am a foster carer, do you apply any additional restrictions, reductions or exclusions to my policy?
- Do you cover my foster children’s possessions as contents of my home? Are there any non-standard restrictions, reductions or exclusions to this?
- Would you provide cover for any accidental damage caused to my buildings and contents by a foster child in my care?
Foster carers are approved rather than employed by their fostering service, and this status has a particular effect on means-tested benefits. In the main, fostering payments when a child is placed with a foster carer are disregarded when calculating welfare benefits. Alternatively, foster carers may be able to claim Working Tax Credit because fostering is regarded as ‘work’ by HMRC when they have a child in placement.
All foster carers are treated as self-employed for tax purposes. There is a specific tax scheme foster carers can use called Qualifying Care Relief. The scheme calculates a generous tax threshold unique to the fostering household and when compared with their total fostering payments, determines if a foster carer has to pay any tax from their fostering or not. For many foster carers their total fostering payments are below their tax threshold and they do not have to pay any tax.
All foster carers receive a weekly fostering allowance which is designed to cover the cost of caring for a fostered child. This should cover food, clothes, toiletries and all other expenses incurred in looking after a fostered child.