Councils face legal challenge on allowances for kinship foster carers

    Fostering and adoption groups have warned local authorities to
    remove discriminatory policies against kinship carers or face legal
    action, writes Shirley Kumar.

    Solicitor firm Ridley and Hall has already targeted Kirkless,
    Leeds, Bradford, Bolton, Hampshire, Surrey and Peterborough
    Councils following a string of calls from kinship carers.

    The move follows the landmark ruling in September 2001 that
    Manchester Council had to pay all foster carers according to the
    needs of the child for whom they are caring. Mr Justice Munby
    concluded that discriminating against kinship carer was against the
    European Convention on Human Rights.

    Following several legal challenges to its policy, Kirklees
    Council agreed in April to pay kinship carers a higher fostering
    allowance, backdated to the 2001 judgement. They also agreed to pay
    an amount equivalent to the long term fee to all carers who care
    for a child aged 8 or over.

    The Fostering Network welcomed the news, saying it believed no
    carer should be out of pocket as a result of looking after
    children.

    “We encourage local authorities to remove discriminatory
    polices against family and friend carers,” a spokeperson
    said. “Where they do not, they open themselves up to judicial
    review.”

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