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Fostering payments and allowances 2024/25


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Fostering Devon recognises

  • The skills, experience and commitment of foster carers caring for our children and young people
  • The role the foster carers play, is integral to the child’s life journey and future aspirations

Working together for equalities

Devon County Council positively values, diversity, and celebrates cultural and social differences. Our equal opportunities promise is that we will provide all services of equal quality which meet your needs and fulfil your rights.

You can expect:

  • the same good quality of service as everyone else, in the same amount of time, with the same amount of care and consideration
  • to be treated fairly, with respect, dignity and understanding whoever you are and whatever your background
  • any unfairness or unfair discrimination to be investigated and put right wherever possible

Fostering allowance 2024-25

AllowanceWeekly amount
Standard£237.44 or £249.06 for 16+
Training (attend 6 per year)£64.47
Support groups (attend 6 per year)£64.47
Standard (including training and support group allowance)£366.38 or £378 for 16 +
Enhanced (total)£458.01 or £469.63 for 16 +
Enhanced plus (total)£529.20 or £540.82 for 16 +
Staying put (total)£301.77

Fostering allowances

Standard, enhanced and enhanced plus

Dependant on the needs of the child or young people the fostering service carefully use an analytic framework to assess how foster carers are supported to best meet the needs of the child or young person.

Link to the needs criteria and assessment tool.

Connected persons

When Connected Persons (family or friends) are temporarily approved as foster carers they will receive the standard allowance for the child or young person they are caring for and then if they are fully approved following the recommendation at fostering panel and agreed by ADM they will receive the additional training and support group allowance and will be subject to the same expectation as all approved foster carers.

Parent and child (CPAT)

Parent and Child, known as Child & Parent Assessment Team (CPAT), carers provide placements for parents and babies/young children together. CPAT carers receive the following payments:

Full time placementWeekly rateDaily rate
1 Parent and 1 Child£1069.32£152.76
1 Parents and 2 Children£1238.09£176.87
2 Parents and 1 Child£1294.44£184.92
2 Parents and 2 Children (£152.50 each for any additional child)£1463.28£209.04
1 Parent and 1 Child with another parent staying 1 overnight or more per week£1294.44£184.92
OtherWeekly rateDaily rate
Retainer£401.17£57.31
Pre-birth (parent in placement)£488.18 (1p1c)
£590.94 (2p1c)
£69.74 (1p2c)
£84.42 (2p1c)
Baby/child only placementsFull CPAT rate paid for 7 days (if parent has a break and placement held open). This can be extended for further 28 days, after which rate reduces to £583.03 per week (1 child). For more than 1 child, this increases by £216.72 per additional child.
Parachute care£20 per hour up to 6 hours
£137.08 daily rate for over 6 hours
£10 per hour for any additional travel time over 1 hour
Community Assessment (step down from placement)£506.45 (1p1c)
£590.94 (2p1c)
£72.35 (1p1c)
£84.42 (2p1c)
Holiday fee and allowance£366.30
Placements where parent is a looked after young personParent under 16 years: £216.72 as an additional payment

Parent 16-18 years: Agreed in exceptional circumstances

Staying put

This relates to young people who will remain with their current foster carers post 18 under a Staying Put Arrangement.

Additional payments will no longer be made for holiday and birthday periods and travel costs will no longer be met unless agreed as part of the support plan. Sleepovers (previously known as respite) is also no longer provided unless there is a specific agreement as part of the support plan.

Staying put policy.

Sleepovers (previously known as respite or short breaks)

Sleepovers have an important role to:

  • maintain a child in their own family environment
  • support and maintain children and young people with complex needs as part of an agreed care plan
  • assist carers to maintain the care of children and young people when emergencies or unforeseen circumstances arise, for example the illness of a carer or member of their family; or the need for a break if the situation in the carer’s home becomes critical due to the deterioration of the situation
  • allow carers to take a break from the fostering role

Sleepover arrangements to support foster families

Any such arrangements must be detailed in the child’s Care Plan, reviewed and amended regularly as part of the care plan and also agreed with the child’s social worker, Team Manager and the appropriate panel.

When sleepovers last for more than 3 days all enhancements and additional payments to the main carer are put on hold until the child returns. The main carer continues to receive the standard fostering rate during the sleepover period. For the first and last day of the sleepover period there is no change to the payments.

Duration of the sleep overChange to weekly payments
3 days or lessNo change
4 days or moreFirst and last days no change
Days in between enhanced and additional payments including training and support group allowances are put on hold

If the total number of sleep over days exceeds 15 (14 nights) in a financial year, all weekly payments (including the standard fostering rate) will be put on hold for any further periods of sleep overs during that year.

Sleep overs to allow carers to take a break from the fostering role

Carers can request up to a maximum of 15 days per year per fostering household (not per child).

PACE

Devon County council have been working closely with Devon and Cornwall
Police to develop a service that will provide PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) beds with our foster carers for children and young people who have been charged for an offence by the police and denied bail.

This is important as we recognise that children or young people are vulnerable in a custody setting and should be treated differently to adults in Police custody, and Police cells are not a suitable place for children. We are pleased to announce that we now have two of our fostering households who are experienced in providing remand beds working together to ensure that we can offer PACE beds 24/7 all year.

PACEWeeklyDaily
Per placement£545.02£77.86
Per retainer£334.32£47.76

DYPAS – Devon Young Peoples Accommodation Service

The role of DYPAS Supported Lodgings hosts are to provide vulnerable young people aged 16+ with a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment.  It recruits from a variety of backgrounds and will assess and approve its own carers. 

They welcome young people as part of their family, give advice and guidance, help them access community activities and services, and generally assist them in preparing for independent living.

DYPAS carers receive the same fostering allowance as Mainstream carers.

Foster to adopt

Foster to adopt carers receive the standard fostering allowance until the adoption order is granted.

What does the fostering allowance cover?

The basic fostering allowance covers the full cost of caring for a foster child, including:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Pocket money
  • Personal and household expenditure
  • Equipment
  • Special outings
  • Dental and optical needs
  • Activities- including clubs and hobbies
  • School activities
  • Telephone expenses

Foster carers should keep receipts for the child’s clothing, (and provide them to the child’s social worker) and ensure that each child has at least the minimum amount of clothing listed in the children looked after Clothing guidance document.

School uniform

An additional payment for the purchase of school uniform can be requested via the child’s social worker in circumstances where a move has necessitated a
change of school, or where the child arrives without a school uniform.
Where they are made, these emergency payments are additional to the
standard weekly payments.

Pocket money, birthday and holiday allowances

The standard weekly rate includes money for a child or young person to have pocket money.

We believe it is unhelpful to be too rigid about levels of pocket money but offer the following guidelines.

The allowances need to relate to what is comparable in the young person’s own family, to what is given to the carer’s own children, and to what the young person can expect to receive when he or she leaves the foster family.

Obviously, carers can offer additional pocket money if jobs are completed around the house.

Carers are not allowed to withhold pocket money as a punishment but may decide to place a proportion of a child’s pocket money in a savings account for them instead of giving the money directly to the child or young person

Age groupSuggested minimum allowance
5-8£3.50
9-12£5
13-16£7-£10
16 plusTo be negotiated through the Young People’s Pathway Plan

Savings

Children and young people who have been a child in our care for a continuous period of at least 12 months will automatically have a Junior Individual Savings Account (ISA) set up in their name by Devon County Council and managed via The Share Foundation. £5 a week will be saved for each child or young person. This money belongs solely to the child or young person as the named account holder; however, they won’t be able to access their account and make withdrawals until they claim the accounts and are aged 18 or over. Foster carers are not required to do anything extra.

For more information, please see our short guide about the regular savings policy.

Birthday and festival allowances

These payments are intended to cover the costs of gifts, entertainment, and incidental expenses. Payments are made around the relevant time to allow carers to buy gifts. If a child moves home within two weeks of the birthday or festival, either the gifts or the allowance will transfer to their new home.

Age groupBirthdays and festivals
0-4£100.00
5-10£164.80
11-17£205.24

Where children in our foster families observe a religious festival other than Christmas, this should be discussed with their social worker. The allowance will still be paid automatically before Christmas, carers and social workers should agree when it is most appropriately spent. Carers will receive one allowance per child.

Holiday allowance

Holiday opportunities for children and young people in care should be made available and discussed with the child’s social worker and fostering Supervising Social Worker and agreed as part of the Care Plan.

For example, where children are included in the foster family holiday the carer will receive the holiday allowance. The holiday allowance will also be paid to carers taking holidays which are at home and day trips.

Occasionally in respect of older teenagers and their individual circumstances, for example, when they are clearly stating they do not want to go on holiday or for day trips with their foster carer, consideration can be given to funding activities/days out for the young person as an alternative.

If the foster carer is not providing a holiday or day trips, the holiday allowance may be used to pay for a holiday experience elsewhere. For example, a school trip abroad or residential holiday. Holiday allowances are not applicable in situations where the child is visiting or staying over with relatives or friends of the carer.

Payments are not made automatically; they must be claimed by foster carers in advance of the planned holiday. The resource request form must be submitted by the child’s social worker.

Holiday allowances are paid once a year for each child. Where children move to live with another foster family during the year and the first carer has already received the holiday allowance, any payment to the second carer will be at the discretion of the child’s social worker and Team Manager considering the child’s needs.

No additional discretionary holiday allowances will be paid.

Age groupHolidays
0-4£474.88
5-10£474.88
11-15£474.88
16 +£498.12

Childcare costs

Day care payments are £10 per hour per child to a maximum of £60 per day, this is to be agreed in advance with the fostering, childrens social work team and Team Managers.

This will cover necessary childcare in the following situations:

  • Attend Training
  • Family Emergencies/Crisis
  • Health & Medical grounds

Retainers

A retainer may be agreed if a foster home needs to be held for a period to ensure appropriate planning for a child. A retainer will be paid at 50% of the standard weekly basic fee, plus the training and support allowance. Exceptions include:

(a) Children in hospital
Normal payments will be made for the first four weeks. Anything spent on comforts for the child, and travel to and from hospital, is to be met from these allowances. After four weeks, allowances will be reduced by 50%. In exceptional circumstances, for example life-threatening illness, the situation should be reviewed before the end of four weeks hospitalisation and discretion used as to whether to reduce the allowances.

(b) Children on holiday
Normal allowances will be paid for up to four weeks.

(c) Children attending boarding school or residential college
Foster carers who offer a home for a child or young person who attends a boarding or residential school, will receive retainers while the child is away at school. As follows:

  • where a child is a termly boarder and is with the carers for the school holidays only, the retainer will be 25% of the allowance.
  • where the child is with carers every weekend and school holidays, the retainer in the child’s absence will be 50% of the allowance.
  • full allowances are payable while a child is living with the carers.
  • in addition to these retainers, it is expected that pocket money allowances will also be paid to the child at boarding school by the carer.

(d) Children who go missing
Normal payments will be made for the first four weeks. Retaining fees will be then paid on the same basis as for children in hospital.

(e) Payments for retaining foster carers when a child is placed at home with parents or others with parental responsibility

Where a home with foster carers needs to be retained as part of the Care Plan, all allowances will continue to be paid for the first seven days. After this, if the foster home needs to be retained for a longer period, subject to agreement from the child’s social worker and Team Manager and the carers, at 50% of the normal allowance.

(f) Approved places being held by DCC (known as bed block)
Where carers are approved for more than one child and the second and/or third child is not being used at the request of Fostering Devon, because of the needs of a child already living there, a bed block payment equivalent to 50% of the weekly allowance will be made. Any request for such a payment should be made to the child’s social work team, Team Manager and appropriate panel process.

Staying put

If the young person is attending University and it has been agreed that a retainer is to be paid, it is recommended that when they are at home, during holiday time and weekends the carer should receive the full Staying Put allowance of £301.77 per week. While the young person is away, a retainer will be paid to carers at 25% of the Staying Put allowance – £75.44 per week where a young person’s room is exclusively reserved for them. It is also an acknowledgement that former foster carer provides support to the young person while the room is not occupied.

If the young person joins the Armed Forces a retainer will be paid for the first 12 weeks which will cover the initial training period.

When a young person is remanded in Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Agreement to retain a foster home needs to be sought on a case-by-case basis via the young person’s social work team, Fostering Devon and panel agreement to be sought.

PEA

There is an allowance available, this allowance is accessed through the child’s social worker and virtual school usually at the personal education plan (PEP) meeting.

An allowance of £75 can be claimed for the young people to attend their Prom or leaving party to celebrate the end of their GCSE year, this can be claimed from their social work team.

Emergency clothing payments

When a child moves in an emergency and has little or no clothing, it is possible for an emergency clothing grant to be made to the foster carer, to cover the costs of new clothing items to meet the child’s immediate needs. Any requests for an emergency clothing grant should be made to the child’s social worker, who will consult with the supervising social worker before agreeing to payment up to a total of £112.98 per child. Receipts must be provided to the child’s social worker.

Please click this link for the list of the minimum items of clothing.

Transition to adoptive families

Hospitality costs for prospective foster carers or adoptive parents We recognise that it is not always possible to accurately cost any additional meals on introductory visits by prospective adopters and foster carers – especially when they are taken as part of the foster family’s normal meals.

As a guide:

  • for overnight stays use local B&B, rate to be negotiated and agreed by the Social Work Team Manager
  • for evening meal or main meal maximum of £10 per person
  • for snacks a maximum of £5 per person
  • for trips out or reimbursement of entrance fee

Receipts will be required wherever possible.

Payments

Payments are made weekly. Payments are made by BACS (Bank Automatic Clearing System) and foster carers receive a letter confirming the payment (also known as a remittance advice).

In the event that foster carers are overpaid, the money will be reclaimed in full. Carers have a responsibility to let their supervising social worker and Family Homes for Children team know as soon as this is realised. Any underpayment will be paid in full

Carers subject to allegations

If a carer is subject to an allegation that necessitates the removal of the child in their care to allow an investigation, the carer can be paid up to eight weeks of the full fostering allowance from the date of the child’s removal.

If the investigation is not completed within eight weeks, any further allowances paid should be at the discretion of the Service Manager.

Carers subject to allegations will be entitled to independent support and advice through FosterTalk Allegations Support Team previously known as ‘Foster Carers Independent Support Service’ (FISS) for further information. This will be initiated by the Team Manager who requests an initial 10 hours support. Any additional support required will be at the discretion of the Fostering Service Manager.

Training expenses

Strategy, Peer Guides, Mentors, Skills to Foster

Fees for carers, who are supporting training , and include time taken for preparation. Please make claims using the CiC1 Form and clearly state the title and date of the group or training attended.

Attendance at Peer Guides, Foster Carer Strategy Group and Mentoring.
Payment to foster carers for attending these meetings and carrying out all the duties of their role is £30 per month

Skills to Foster

As an experienced foster carer £20 (half day)
£40 (full day)
As a young person in care £20 (half day) – voucher
£40 (full day) – voucher

The above expenses will need to be claimed for on a CiC1 form and sent to fostercarermileage-mailbox@devon.gov.uk. Mileage claims for these events should be claimed in the usual manner.

Travel costs

Mileage should be claimed for the following journeys:

  • Family time as stated in the Child’s Care Plan, school, medical appointments or emergencies
  • Any meetings about the child
  • Any sleep over arrangements
  • Agreed clubs and activities for the child as part of the child’s care plan
  • All of these should be discussed with you at the Pre-Placement planning meeting and agreed in principle at that point.

Mileage can also be claimed for travel to training events and recruitment events.

Mileage cannot be claimed for other travel, which is part of family life, such as:

  • Recreational trips to the cinema, beach etc
  • The travel on holiday

These are assumed to take place and are covered by the fostering allowance or holiday allowance.

Mileage for any other journeys not covered in the Pre-Placement Planning meeting need to be agreed with the child’s social worker prior to the journeys taking place.

Special journeys, for example those going out of county, need to be agreed as part of the planning and review process for the child or young person.

In very exceptional circumstances, designated Service Managers have authority to reimburse travelling costs incurred that do not conform to these guidelines.

Reimbursement will comprise actual expenditure incurred on public transport or actual mileage undertaken paid at the current mileage rate.

Claims should be made monthly and sent to childsc.fostercarermileage@devon.go.uk

Please use relevant form below:

  • Non-child related mileage form
  • Child related mileage form

The current amount for mileage set by HMRC – is 45p per mile

Grants and Loans

The Fostering Service is unable to agree a grant, or loan, for items such as home extensions or improvements. Any such needs, to maintain a home for a child or young person, should be referred to the Head of Service.

Membership to Fostertalk

The Fostering Service pays for annual membership for all approved foster carers to Foster Talk.

The membership includes:

  • Foster carer legal expenses insurance
  • 24-hour Legal Advice Helpline
  • Arrest and Interview Assistance
  • Accountancy, Benefits, National Insurance and Tax Advice
  • 24-hour Counselling Helpline
  • Independent Financial Advice Helpline
  • Quarterly Magazine
  • Max Card Discounts
  • Education Advisory Service
  • 24-hour Medical and First Aid Helpline
  • Webinars

Further information can be found in your membership pack or directly from Foster Talk.

Contact details are as follows:

Email: enquiries@fostertalk.org
Telephone: 0121 758 5013
24-hour Helpline: 0344 800 3880 Website: www.fostertalk.org

Benefits and tax

Benefits

As a foster carer you may be entitled to various Benefits including:

  • Universal Credit/Tax Credits/Income Support
  • Personal Independence Payment/Disability Living Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Carers Allowance

Please note, Universal Credit is being introduced in stages. If you are already claiming benefits you will be notified by the benefits agency when this will affect you. For further information and advice regarding various benefits, please see:

Income tax

Fostering is classed as self-employment therefore you will need to contact your local HMRC office and register as self-employed. You may also be asked to complete a tax return form, particularly if you have earnings from another source.

Each individual’s financial circumstances are different and there are many elements which can affect your tax liability such as:

  • the number of children and young people who live with you
  • the type of foster home you have, for example, if you receive a fee in addition to the fostering allowance for the child
  • whether you foster with your partner
  • whether you receive any other income as well as your fostering income

Devon County Council will provide an annual statement to reflect the fostering allowance received over the past year.

Information and guidance is available on the HM Revenue and Customs website www.hmrc.gov.uk/helpsheets or your local HMRC Office can be contacted on Tel: 0844 4740101. Information and advice can also be sought from FosterTalk on their helpline which is Tel: 0844 8003880 or on their website www.fostertalk.org.

Insurance

Summary of insurance cover for foster carers provided by Devon County Council and arranged by Gallaghar Insurance (Care & Charity Policy) Probitas 1492 Services Limited and underwritten by Lloyds.

This policy provides cover for foster carers’ property and property belonging to members of their family permanently residing with them. Cover is in respect of loss or damage caused by a CIC. There is no limit as to the age of the foster child or young person in care.

It does cover malicious damage and theft by a foster child, including theft of money up to a maximum of £2,500. The maximum in respect of theft of jewellery by a foster child is £2,500. Loss or damage to carers’ motor vehicles is excluded. The limit of cover for any one occurrence is £500,000 excluding the first £150 of each incident. It is not intended as a substitute for sensible household insurance and does not cover situations where a claim can be made against an existing buildings or contents policy.

A claim form can be obtained from your Supervising Social Worker. It should be completed as soon as possible after the incident and returned in the first instance to your Supervising Social Worker who will forward it to Gallaghar.

The important points to remember:

  • The age or date of birth of the child causing the damage should be indicated
  • Invoices in respect of damaged or stolen items should be provided if available
  • An estimate or evidence of replacement cost must be provided with the claim
  • An incident which may give rise to a claim must be notified within 30 days. This applies particularly where there is an injury to a foster child
  • For larger claims the insurance company may wish to appoint a Loss Adjuster.

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