Fostering pay varies according to the type of fostering you do, and it’s depending on children’s needs. The older the child or young person the higher the fostering professional fee and pay. Sunbeam offers up to £700 fostering allowance per child per week depending on children’s needs. Additionally, we pay other allowance and our foster carers receive many other benefits while fostering with us.
What covers in the Fostering Pay?
As a foster carer, you will receive a fostering allowance which normally covers things like food, clothing, transportation, pocket money, outings and personal household expenses etc.
Type and amount of Fostering pay in UK
Fostering pay rates are not regulated by the government so each private agency or independent Fostering Agencies or local authority can decide how much they pay their carers. This lack of regulation is why Local Authority Foster Care can pay the minimum recommended rates and why private or independent agency rates can be much more higher.
Local Authority Foster Care
If you are fostering children via your local authority you will be paid the foster carer’s allowance according to the criteria they set. Foster carer’s allowance varies in each local authority but the rate set by the government starts at £123 per week for babies, right up to £216 per week for 16-17 year olds with an enhancement for London and the South East of England. These are the standard recommended rates and depending on the circumstances, you are likely to receive higher foster carer’s allowance than this.
Independent Fostering Agencies (IFA’s)
Independent fostering agencies pay fostering allowances in a slightly different way; foster parent working with an independent agency will receive a fostering fee of up to £650 per child per week although this will vary according to the needs of the child that is placed, for example:
- Parent and Baby
- Remand Fostering
- Children with complex needs
Where a private arrangement has been made between a parent and a foster parent, the responsibility for any foster fee or allowance falls to the parent. In this circumstance the foster carer is responsible for claiming the correct benefits for the child like tax credits and housing benefit. There is no state remuneration or fostering allowance payable in this case.
Fostering fees and allowances are not counted as income in respect of most means-tested benefits. If you are eligible for working age benefits, they will not be affected by your fostering allowance. The benefits include the following:
- Income Support
- Job Seekers Allowance
- Council Tax Reduction
- Disability Living Allowance
- Working Tax Credits
- Housing Benefit
Although fostering allowance is not counted as income for benefits, you should make sure that you declare this income when you apply for any benefit.
Council tax reduction
Alongside the fostering allowance you may be able to have your council tax bill lowered by up to 100%. This, of course, depends on your circumstances and how many people live in your household. Each local council sets its own rules and eligibility criteria for the council tax reduction scheme and you would need to speak to your local council in order to find out if you qualify for this.
Housing Benefit Help
Contact your local council to find out about claiming housing benefit for children that you are caring for in your home. This can help to contribute towards your rent (not available if you own a property either living in or renting it out). You can also claim for a period of up to 52 weeks for a bedroom that is reserved for a foster child but is currently unoccupied.
There are many solutions that can help you make the most of life as a foster parent and the financial incentives available make the process a bit easier. Not having to worry about where money is coming from means that you can get on with what you do best, which is caring for the children that you have fostered. Money isn’t the only thing that a foster parent needs but fostering allowance, which has the reward element to it, helps you to ensure that the home environment is as comfortable as it can be for you as well as for the children. All of the above is there to help and assist you in creating a stable and secure environment. Be sure to take advantage of all the help offered.
This job is probably one of my favourites. Every day is different, every day has new challenges and every day has new rewards. It’s not always easy but each challenge you go through with the child bonds you and makes you both stronger for each other.
We have been fostering for the last 8 years and feel proud to be a part of the Sunbeam family. At the beginning, we thought it’s a tough job, but the skills to foster initial training and the whole assessment procedure to become a carer was interesting, and it gave us both a broad insight into both the tough and rewarding side of what we were likely to encounter.
Hannah and Kashif
“Fostering is a rewarding experience as it allows you to actually make a difference for a child/young person. I feel happy being able to make such a difference whether it is for one day or several years.”
“When they told me that I had been approved for fostering, well I just cried. I was an emotional wreck and was so happy that I just couldn’t hold back my very, very, happy tears.”