Payments to foster carers

Payments

We pay allowances for fostering in recognition of the additional costs that children in care can bring. They do not generally include a reward element.

The payment week runs from Sunday to Saturday.  Carer’s payments are received by Friday of that week.  We pay allowances by BACS directly into your bank account. Details of other specific payments are included in later sections.

If you have queries about payments, first contact your supervising social worker (SSW).

Any other payments require approval by the relevant manager. Despite the current economic situation, we have been able to support a rise in mainstream allowances for 2022/2023.

Weekly allowance (as of 1 April 2022)

Age range Amount
0 to 4 years £150.10
5 to 10 years £170.64
11 to 15 years £212.17
16 years and over £257.97

The allowances cover the following additional costs of caring for a child or young person:

  • food, including school meals
  • clothing
  • household expenditure such as electricity, gas, TV, telephone and toiletries
  • personal expenditure such as pocket money, gifts, magazines, low-cost clubs and activities. If the child in placement undertakes one more expensive activity, the fostering service will consider covering this cost if it has been previously agreed with your SSW.
  • routine travelling expenses including school bus fare, but excluding specialist appointments such as CAMHS or regular hospital visits
  • day trips, including school trips
  • transporting children to school within a three-mile radius. Mileage for transporting children outside the three-mile limit should be agreed upon placement

In exceptional circumstances, the team manager may consider that the child’s behaviours require additional expenditure.  We may pay an enhanced rate of £270.00 per week (known as a specific child rate). We will advise you upon placement of the child if this rate is applicable. As the child’s needs change, we will regularly review the payment.

We will also make this enhanced level of payment where carers are linked at panel.  This is for permanence with children who have been waiting for a permanent placement for over six months.

An additional four-week age-related allowance will be paid to cover:

  • Christmas or another religious festival – one week paid in early December or the month during which the festival occurs.  After that date, we will add this to your regular weekly allowance if you take a placement. If a child moves during the two weeks prior to Christmas day, it is expected that any gifts purchased will be transferred with them. If the child leaves before this period, we will recover the allowance if there is no evidence of the child having the gifts.
  • Birthdays – one week paid in the week immediately before the child’s birthday.
  • Holidays – two weeks to be paid on the Friday before the start of the school summer holidays each year.

If the placement is made after that date, you can apply for the allowance through your SSW. This allowance contributes to holiday costs, either for days out or holidays away. This will not normally be paid if carers have taken a family holiday and not taken the child who has spent the time with respite carers.

If you know the child will not be with you for the full duration of the summer holidays, contact your SSW.  They will ensure pro rata payment is made, and that any overpayment is prevented.

Pocket money (included in the weekly allowances)

You should advise the child of the amount of pocket money they will receive.  The amount will vary according to age.

Pocket money is for incidental expenses above and beyond normal household items. Depending on age, this could be sweets, make-up, toys, computer games and the purchase of gifts for family and friends.

It is expected that children aged 11 and over will contribute towards expensive hobbies and clubs. You should put any money not given directly to the child in a savings account.

Guidance for recommended pocket money rates (payable from allowance): 

Age range Amount
0 to 1 year nil
2 to 4 years £3
5 to 10 years £4
11 to 12 years £6
13 to 15 years £9
16 and over £15

Personal allowances

This allowance is designed to meet a variety of personal needs, and cover pocket money and savings. 

It may be used for the older age group to cover, for instance, the cost of hair care products, phone cards or personal telephone calls. Your child or young person may wish to take up a hobby or activity such as horse riding, so some of this could contribute to that.

Children who work

Whilst young people are in education this should be their priority. However, the child’s social worker may agree that it is appropriate for a child to have a part-time job. They should be encouraged to save this money or part of it.  In most cases, a bank account should be set up for them. You should discuss this with the child’s social worker.

When a child is in full-time employment, individual discussions should take place with the social worker and young person regarding their financial responsibilities to the placement.

For a few young people, the Staying Put scheme allows them to remain in their foster placement post 18. The scheme has its own financial guidelines.  Young people should discuss with the scheme co-ordinator to decide how finances will be accessed.