It is important foster carers feel valued and appreciated for the work they do. Foster carers are people who want to make positive change in children’s lives, but they need to know that allowances will be enough to make fostering a viable career choice.
As such, foster carers deserve to be paid professional allowances that reflect their dedication to this life-changing role.
Breakdown of Fostering Payments, Allowances, Tax and Benefits
How much do Foster Carers get paid?
Our foster carers typically receive between £350 – £650 per week depending on the needs and complexity of the young person. The governments national minimum rates for foster carers are between £132 – £231 per week and we use this as our baseline ‘boarding-out’ fee. In addition to this, we also pay our foster carers a professional fee.
Fostering allowances vary depending on;
- the agency you foster with
- the training & experience of the foster family
- the age, needs and behaviours of the child or children you care for
- the responsible local authority
Allowances for Fostering
We break our fostering allowance down into two parts – a boarding-out fee and a professional fee. The boarding-out fee is paid to cover the daily costs of caring for a young person and follows the governments national minimum rates. This includes – activities and hobbies, transport for school, family time and health appointments, pocket money and savings.
The professional fee is a payment made to recognise the skills of the carer and is based on the foster carer’s registration.
Our professional fee has three grades and you move up the grades as your skills develop and you gain more experience.
To reach the highest grade you must complete a training programme culminating with a Level 3 Diploma for the Children’s and Young People’s Workforce which is fully funded by Family Care.
You will also receive up to 2-weeks annual leave entitlement (pro-rata) every year.
Fostering Tax Allowance
Foster families benefit from a fixed-tax exemption of up to £10,000 per year (pro-rata) which is shared equally among approved carers in the home. You also get tax relief for every week (pro-rata) a child is in your care. For children under 11 the tax relief is £200/week, for children over 11 it is £250/week.
Here is a working example from the gov.uk website to illustrate how tax in fostering can work;
Laura is a foster carer for a 14-year-old for the whole of the year and for an 8-year-old for 10 weeks of the year. She does not have to pay tax on the first £25,000 she earns from fostering:
Fixed tax exemption = £10,000
Child A – 14 years old (52 weeks x £250) = £13,000
Child B – 8 years old (10 weeks x £200) = £2,000
Total = £25,000
This is a straightforward example of how tax works in fostering, but we are not tax experts. To help with this, our families receive membership to Foster Talk for accountancy and tax advice.
It is the foster carer’s responsibility to register themselves as self-employed and pay their own income tax & national insurance. Membership to Foster Talk really helps with this.
Fostering Allowance and Benefits
Being paid for fostering should not affect the amount of benefits you receive if the payments come from;
- A local council
- A voluntary organisation
- A private organisation
If you receive payments from somewhere else, you should speak to an adviser from the organisation that pays your benefit and ask if your benefits will be affected.
Possible benefits that may be affected include Jobseekers allowance, income support and employment and support allowances. There’s a bit more information about this on the gov.uk website, and we recommend arranging to speak with an advisor directly.