New fee and allowance system planned for foster carers

Telford & Wrekin Council is set to increase the amount of money paid to foster carers in a bid to combat a big increase in the use of expensive independent agencies.

New fee and allowance system planned for foster carers

The council’s cabinet – which meets on March 14 – is being presented with a proposal to modernize and simplify fees and allowance schemes for council foster carers.

Nationally the number of approved fostering carers is continuing to decline and in Telford and Wrekin the last three years has seen a 40 per cent increase in the use of independent fostering agencies.

The report says that Telford & Wrekin Council’s fees and allowances are not all comparable with their competitors.

It also says that the placement mix of foster children in Telford and Wrekin is currently unbalanced with too many placed with independent fostering agencies and too few with in house carers.

As a result, a package of improvements to the fees and allowances on offer to in-house foster carers is being proposed to aid both retention of carers and recruitment of new ones.

These include:

• The introduction of a third tier fee ( an increase of £20 per week) for experienced foster carers who have remained working in Telford and Wrekin for two years plus
• An increased fee of £600 per week for additional foster carers who look after highly vulnerable children and young people who require a high level of support and care
• An increased fee of £600 per week for specialist foster carers who look after children and young people with disabilities
• The recruitment of placements to host parent and child placements during periods of assessment
• A small increase in birthday, holiday and other allowances

Councillor Paul Watling, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Children and Adults Early Help and Support, said: “These proposals simplify a complex system that has built incrementally over many years, They also make the system clear and fair.

“The proposals are designed to attract more carers and ensure they feel valued as part of the professional team around the child and that carers have an opportunity to progress and develop.

“Fee payments will be matched to the complexity of the child’s needs and the skills, expertise and experience of carers will be recognised in payments for the uptake of learning and development opportunities.”

If approved by cabinet, the scheme will start on 1 April and a 12 month review and evaluation report will be brought back to the council’s Senior Management Team in 2020.