The Fostering Network's recommended minimum allowances
The Fostering Network is mindful of the need to make recommendations which are fair to children in foster care and to the foster carers charged with their care, and which have regard to the new budgetary constraints under which fostering services are operating.
For this reason we are currently engaged in research and consultation to review the basis on which our recommendations are calculated.
Until this process is concluded, in order to maintain a transparent and impartial process, we are continuing to up rate our existing recommended allowances in line with inflation, based on the official Consumer Price Index.
The Fostering Network is therefore recommending an increase of 2.3 per cent in its minimum allowances for 2014-15. This is based on the most recent forecast rate of inflation for 2014 as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Our minimum allowances for 2014-15 will therefore be as follows (the figures we recommended for 2013-14 are in brackets):
The Fostering Network recommends an additional four weeks allowance to cover the cost of birthdays, holidays and a religious festival.
We recognise that some services which broadly follow our recommended allowances do make some adjustments to local conditions or to specific individual needs such as exceptional transport costs.
Government recommendations for minimum allowances
The minimum allowances set by the Department for Education in England for 2014-15, will be increased by levels ranging from 1.5 per cent to 2.6 per cent depending on age group and location. These are also followed in Northern Ireland. In Wales the national minimum allowances for 2014-15 will be increased by amounts ranging between 2.2 per cent and 2.9 per cent by age group. In Scotland there are no official recommendations.
Allowances and fees
Our recommended allowances are designed to cover the cost of looking after a fostered child, and do not include any form of fee for the foster carer. Fostering services are reminded of the need to distinguish between the allowance and any fee payments in the overall payments they make to foster carers. The Fostering Network encourages fostering services to raise fees to foster carers in line with the pay awards they make to staff.