A leading foster care charity has criticised the “disastrously low” minimum fostering allowances proposed by the government in a consultation document published this week.
Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of the Fostering Network, told 0-19 that the organisation was “very disappointed” with the rates suggested.
“The consultation paper does not recognise that the allowances should cover the full cost of care,” he said. “The government has excluded the cost of housing, transport and other general household expenses.”
The government is proposing that all foster carers should receive a weekly allowance starting at £99.56 per week for the youngest children, rising to £112.89 for secondary school children.
Tapsfield said that unless these levels were raised, foster carers were going to be significantly out of pocket. He warned that this could only serve to further exacerbate the shortage of foster carers.
“We know that paying foster carers the full cost of what it costs them is an important element of a successful recruitment strategy,” he said.
The Fostering Network recommends a national minimum allowance starting from £112.07 for babies and rising to £193.28 per week for older children. Currently, foster carers in half of England’s local authorities receive less than this, with some receiving just £50 per week.
Tapsfield said it was “absolutely essential” that interested parties responded to the consultation, which closes on 25 April. The government is expected to announce the final allowances in July.
National Minimum Fostering Allowances from http://www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations/conDetails.cfm?consultationId=1378