There are so many advantages to becoming a foster carer and when you welcome a disadvantaged child or young person into your home, you will have such a significant impact on their life. Being a foster carer is incredibly rewarding and if you have a spare bedroom, it is definitely something that you should think about doing.
Understandably, when considering whether to become a foster carer, you will have a few questions relating to foster care pay. Whilst fostering income should never be the primary motive for becoming a foster carer, taking care of a child does have financial implications and it is no surprise that many want to learn more about fostering payments in the UK before fostering a child or young person. So, below we have put together some useful information in this regard.
Do foster carers get paid?
Foster carers don’t necessarily get paid in the same way you would from traditional employment, but they do receive a fostering allowance. This foster care allowance is designed to compensate foster carers for their efforts and also cover the costs associated with caring for a child. Foster carers are expected to pay for things such as clothes, toys, activities and pocket money out of this allowance when caring for a foster child or young person.
What is the minimum allowance for foster carers?
The Government has set a minimum for the allowance that foster carers will receive, however, this amount differs depending on where the foster carer lives and the age of the child that they care for. For example, when caring for a child between the ages of 3 to 4 in London, the minimum allowance is £158, but in the South East, the minimum allowance is £153. The minimum foster carer allowance is updated on a yearly basis as well.
Generally speaking, when you foster with an independent fostering agency, you can expect to receive more than the minimum allowance whether you’re caring for a foster child or a young person. For example, here at Fostering UK, the allowance we provide ranges from £400 to £700 per week per child, depending on the type of foster placement. Often, agencies provide higher allowances to ensure that children receive the best possible care and don’t have to go without.
How is an allowance calculated?
More often than not, there are a number of different factors that are taken into consideration when deciding how much a foster carer will receive. In addition to where you live and the age of the child, as mentioned above, these factors tend to include; the number of children you foster, the personal circumstances of the child/children and your skills and experience as a foster carer. Of course, depending on which fostering agency you use, the allowance will differ as well.
Do you get any tax relief as a foster carer?
When you become a foster carer, you will be classed as self-employed and you will need to file tax returns. It is worth noting that you will qualify for care relief when you’re fostering and in many cases, you will have a tax exemption of £10,000. In addition to this, you will also get tax relief for every week that a child or young person is in your care, meaning you won’t have to pay tax on everything that you earn over £10,000.
You may also be able to apply for disability benefits on behalf of your foster child if they meet the required criteria and also claim an additional carer’s allowance, so this is worth looking into if applicable. If you require any assistance with tax or benefits when you become a foster carer, either speak to your fostering agency for some guidance or enlist the help of an accountant.
Finding out more about fostering a child or young person
Hopefully, if you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, you will now understand the fostering payments in the UK. Should you have any unanswered questions in this regard, please feel free to contact our team here at Fostering UK. As an independent fostering agency, we can provide you with any additional information that you may require and we will gladly discuss the costs of caring for foster children and young people with you in much more detail.
If you choose to use us as your fostering agency, we can assure you that we always ensure our fostering payments are on time and regular without exception. So, you won’t have to worry about the money side of things and you can concentrate on caring for your foster children.