Foster carers who work for Buckinghamshire County Council are set to benefit from changes to the allowances they are paid.
All foster carers receive a weekly allowance which covers the cost of looking after a foster child in their care. The allowance is designed to cover every-day expenses including clothing, food, holidays, clubs, travel and other costs. Allowances vary according to age and are paid per child.
In a bid to simplify the whole system, recognise the loyalty and hard work of those who chose to foster with Buckinghamshire County Council and ensure council allowances compare more closely with external independent fostering agencies, we recently undertook a review of our payments.
Staff worked with foster carers and listened closely to their views when setting out the new rates. One of the key changes in the new system means that carers who look after more children and those with the highest needs receive a higher rate to reflect this.
As a result of the changes, the majority of County Council foster carers are now better off financially than they were before and none are worse off than previously.
Councillor Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services explained: ‘We know the majority of our carers aren’t motivated to foster by the amount of money they will get, it’s about doing what they can to improve the lives of young people.
However, money does play some part. We want to make sure that our carers are not out of pocket and are fully equipped to focus on caring for the children they are looking after on our behalf.
One important thing to stress is that the funding behind these changes is not new. We are simply using money from our existing fostering budget in a different way.‘
Councillor Whyte added: ‘We are hugely grateful to all our foster carers for the wonderful job they do. We hope that by improving and simplifying our allowance system in this way that they recognise the value we put on everything they do.
We also hope to attract new carers to come and foster with us. Our new rates are now much more closely aligned to independent fostering agencies and we mustn’t forget the value of the ongoing training and support we give to all our foster carers here at Bucks.‘
The new payment structure took effect from the middle of January 2019.
Further information on fostering is available on the Buckinghamshire County Council website at www.buckscc.gov.uk/fostering.