How much do foster parents get paid?
While fostering attracts people who want to make a change in the lives of children and young people, not far behind is the question of how much foster parents get paid. As a foster carer, can you bring in enough money to make it a viable career choice?
The short answer is “yes.” Becoming a foster carer and caring for a child who desperately needs you is its own reward but there are financial benefits as well. It’s not the same as being employed outside the home because as a foster parent, there is rarely time away from the job.
There are standards set by the government that independent agencies such as Capstone Foster Care use as a guideline for the compensation paid to their foster carers. There is a basic allowance per child in care based on the child’s age and geographic location.
The basic weekly allowance covers general household expenses, food, mileage, school meals, the child’s clothing, and pocket money. Beyond this there is a weekly fee that is measured based on the child’s special needs. While it is not possible to say what the carer’s income would be per child in care, here is a bit of a guideline.
For 2015-2016, the weekly fostering allowance nationally in the UK is as follows – babies, £123; Pre Primary, £126; Primary, £139, 11 to 15, £159, and 16 to 17, £185. This is the minimum allowance set by the government. Independent agencies pay up to double this amount.
Beyond the fostering allowances, there are fees paid when the foster parent is required to provide special care to the foster child. The average total pay per week from an independent fostering agency can be in the vicinity of £400. This includes both the allowance and the fee beyond the allowance.
It is important to emphasise that this is merely an average. Some children have a high level of needs because of physical, emotional, or mental challenges. If, for instance, a disabled child needs mobility equipment or specialised therapy, the fostering agency provides the funds. There are several types of foster care and the fee differs depending upon the level of need. If the foster parent discovers that there is something that can improve the child’s daily life, the agency is able to discuss how it can help with the cost.
The income from fostering is a two-fold matter. Part of it is to cover the cost of caring for the child to the best of the agency’s and the carer’s ability. Part of it is to reward the carer for time and energy involved in providing the kind of home that changes the child’s outcome in the adult world to a bright and hopeful place. As well as the income, there are the benefits of having a tax exemption for up to £10,000.
If you want to know about fostering, the available support for foster carers, and what it takes to be a foster carer, contact Capstone Foster Care on 0800 012 4004 or simply click here.