The new national minimum allowances proposed by the government could still leave some foster carers £3,000 a year out of pocket, campaigners have warned.
Last week the government announced that, from April 2007, all foster carers in England will receive a minimum allowance. Rates will range from between £100 and £116 per week for a baby, rising to between £151 and £176 per week for older teenagers.
Fostering Network chief executive Robert Tapsfield said that, although a minimum allowance was a step in the right direction, the rates set were “far too low”.
The charity’s own recommended minimum allowances range from £115 to £198 outside London, and it claims that the government’s lower rates would see foster carers looking after a 16-year-old in London “delving into their own pockets to provide an additional £3,000 per year”.
“The government’s proposed allowances do not take into consideration a number of key costs including housing and transport,” Tapsfield explained. “Fostering services will have to pay above the government levels to ensure all their foster carers have their costs fully covered.”
Baaf Adoption and Fostering chief executive David Holmes said it was important to remember that the rates were minimum allowances and that foster children in areas that chose to pay more would undoubtedly benefit.