Government rejects national fees for foster carers

The government has rejected a proposal from MPs to introduce national fee levels for foster carers.

The Commons children, schools and families select committee made the recommendation as part of its recent inquiry into looked-after children’s services, but the government said it would be “inappropriate.”

The group of MPs had argued that the government could not expect more people to consider fostering as a potential career “without greater clarity about the financial terms on offer”.  It called for a national framework for fees, including 52-week payments or retainers when foster carers did not have placements.

But in its response published today, the government said fee levels should not be set centrally as pay depended on a wide range of factors such as experience and expertise.

National minimum standards changes

Instead, it said carers needed “transparency” about the payments they received and the circumstances in which they were made. The government pledged to amend national minimum standards to require local authorities to publish details of payment systems.

It also said it would amend the standards to ensure payments continued even when allegations against carers were being investigated until complaints had been resolved.

Registration scheme opposed

The government also reiterated its opposition to a national registration scheme for carers, also recommended by the committee, arguing that it would not be “compatible” with the current system of local approval and regulation.

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