The Fostering Network's recommended minimum allowances
The Fostering Network is recommending an increase of 2 per cent in its minimum allowances for 2013-14. This is based on the forecast rate of inflation for 2013 as shown by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in September 2012.
Our minimum allowances for 2013-14 will therefore be as follows (the figures we recommended for 2012-13 are in brackets):
The Fostering Network recommends an additional four weeks allowance to cover the cost of birthdays, holidays and a religious festival.
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.
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.
We also 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.
The minimum allowances set by the Department for Education in England for 2013-14 have not yet been issued (view the latest updates on the DfE website). These are also followed in Northern Ireland. In Wales the minimum allowances set by government for 2013-14 will increase by £6 per child. In Scotland there are no official recommendations.
The Fostering Network calculates its recommendations for annual increases in allowances by indexing its figures against the annual inflation forecasts, as published by HM Treasury.
However, the Fostering Network has decided that it is time to revisit the basis of its original calculations. We expect to commission new research to calculate the costs involved in caring for fostered children, which will enable us to assess the needs of today’s fostering households. We intend that this research will be available before autumn 2013.
More details will be available soon.