We can be uncomfortable talking about money especially when we know how vulnerable and in need looked after children can be for a safe and loving home. But raising and looking after children, whether that is in the short or long term brings financial pressures. Fostering allowances are therefore helpful and essential for all foster carers.
Must Know Things About Fostering Allowance and How It Helps Foster Carers
The cost of raising a child climbs year on year. And this means every child, including those who live with parents other than their birth parents or families. Fostering allowances are the solution that helps foster carers deliver what their foster child need.
To help foster carers offer the homes that looked after children need, there are allowances for foster carers that are financial and non-financial too. Both have their place, and both are important;
Foster carers receive a fostering allowance for each child that they look after for as long as they are in their care.
This allowance takes into account the cost of looking after a child and includes things like food, household bills and everyday expenses.
As a foster carer, you can decide how this money is best spent for your foster children and like other parents, you will have to budget to make sure all their needs are met in terms of items you need to buy.
Additional financial support
It may be that some children or looked after young people need a higher level of care. In some cases, this requires increased additional financial support as the costs of some aspects of raising a child with additional needs can be expensive.
As well as an increased fostering allowance – but every fostering agency works differently, so check with them – you may also be eligible for other benefits;
- Child benefit – every parent receives child benefit unless they have a combined income that surpasses the current threshold (check the UK Government website as this may change). If the local authority is not paying for certain aspects of a foster child’s care, you may be entitled to claim child benefit.
- Disability benefits – alongside fostering allowances, you may also be entitled to claim some benefits including disability benefits. Again, what is paid and how much will depend on how long the child is living with you, and who is contributing what to their care.
- Tax benefits – as a foster carer it may be possible to secure significant tax breaks on any income and allowances you receive alongside additional payments. This means you get to keep more of the money for you and your fostered children.
More support for foster carers
Fostering is amazing. It makes a huge difference to every child that you look after whether it is for a few days or weeks or for many years.
Fostering allowances are the financial support you receive, but there is also recognition that foster carers need other support and at different times.
For example, you won’t see fostering as a ‘job’ but more of a vocation, a calling to help children become well-rounded adults, despite sometimes traumatic childhoods.
But you also need to rest and recharge your batteries, both in terms of physical and emotional energy. This is why paid leave is now part and parcel of being a foster carer.
Alongside fostering allowances and paid leave, you will also have support in the shape of ongoing training, support groups and more.
Is fostering for you?
Fostering can be tough and challenging, as much as it can be exhilarating and rewarding, but without foster families, our society would be much poorer. There are many thousands of children in need of loving foster carers – are you the right person?
Active Care Solutions are looking for people who can make a difference as foster carers. Anyone over the age of 21 can foster – find out more today!