Do I get paid to foster?
When it comes to fostering, money is an emotive topic of conversation. Nonetheless, people ask “Do I get paid to foster?” and in order to answer the questions we get about finances, it’s a topic we’d like to address.
We’d like to make it clear that good foster carers are motivated by a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of children. The best foster carers seek to nurture, love and advocate for the children in their care. In our experience, very few carers are ever motivated by money and it is very important to us that they are not.
However, one cannot escape the fact that it costs money to raise a child and it is for this reason that Local Authorities pay a fostering allowance to foster carers.
The money foster carers receive will cover the cost of caring for a child. It includes the cost of food, clothing, pocket money, savings for the child, personal items such as toys or toiletries. It will include extra-curricular activities, school uniform and equipment, school meals, leisure and sports activities. It is expected to cover other incremental household costs associated with caring for additional children, such as utilities.
Many people want and need to know how much money they will receive for fostering; it helps them decide whether fostering is a viable option for them. The answer to this is that the amount will vary and is dependent on the needs of the individual child.
For example, a carer who looks after children with profound care needs would receive a higher allowance. This is because there might be significant costs associated with providing the required level of care. Children and young people whose care needs are less challenging might require less round-the-clock care and a lower care-related expenditure and therefore carers looking after these children would expect a lower allowance.
It is worth saying that Fostering Providers will differ in what allowance they pay foster carers. Instead of solely asking, “do I get paid to foster?”, we would urge prospective carers to look at the whole package offered to them by Fostering Providers. Whilst we would expect no foster carer to be out of pocket when caring for a child, when it comes to fostering there are some things that money can’t buy. Many other things are vital to ensure stable, positive and fruitful fostering experiences. When looking for a fostering provider, we recommend you check:
1. How child focused the fostering provider is
Talk to fostering providers and gauge how invested they are in the children they support. Their policies and activities should be child-centric and should promote stable, nurturing and successful fostering experiences for carers and children alike.
2. What support you will be given
Does the provider offer 24/7 support? Is the team small enough to get to know you, your family and the child(ren) you care for?
3. What additional support is offered?
Does the provider offer services to promote emotional wellbeing and resilience amongst its carers? Is there an active and supportive fostering community who can meet regularly to support and encourage one another? Is there a sound Social Worker to carer ratio, ensuring carers and their families can be seamlessly supported and listened to?
4. What training and development opportunities exist?
A good fostering provider will provide varied, relevant and tailored training and development for their carers. It should be easy for carers to communicate their training needs and aspirations and fostering providers should be able to demonstrate that they are responsive.
If you would like to talk to us about fostering, including the finances, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01206 299775.
Alternatively, pop into one of our events. A full list of events can be found at www/facebook.com/EasternFosteringServices/events