Herefordshire Council backs down over kinship carer allowances

A kinship carer has won £12,000 in unpaid allowances for bringing up her two grandchildren after threatening the local authority with legal action.

Herefordshire Council agreed to more than double the grandmother’s weekly allowance from £69.69 to £181.93 for the youngest child, aged four, and from £81.68 to £193.92 for the eight-year-old.

The council’s children and young people’s services department authorised the increase after the woman’s solicitor, Nigel Priestley of Huddersfield-based Ridley and Hall, threatened to apply for a judicial review.

The 62-year-old woman became a kinship carer after her grandchildren were made the subject of a care order in March 2007. However, the allowances offered by the council fell far below the government’s recommended minimum rates.

The initial weekly rate of £69.69 for caring for the youngest child was just two-thirds the minimum allowance for two- to four-year-olds, £102. The £81.68 to cover the eldest child was 72% of the recommended £113 for five- to 10-year-olds.

After the solicitor’s intervention, the grandmother was offered an extra £112.24 a child, and the £12,000 in unpaid ­allowances.

The council said it could not comment on individual cases but added that it was reviewing all allowances and fees.

● The Fostering Network has warned that the UK needs 5,000 more foster carers. The findings from a survey of local authorities were published to coincide with the charity’s annual Foster Care Fortnight from 12 to 25 May.

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