12 Oct 2022
Fees and allowances for foster carers in Leeds are set to be increased
Senior councillors in Leeds are set to discuss an increase in pay for foster carers at a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board next week (October 19).
The proposal is to boost weekly maintenance allowances paid to Leeds foster carers by 7% to help with the increasing costs of caring for a child during the cost-of-living crisis.
Members will also consider an increase of 5% for the fee element paid to foster carers. This amount differs based on the assessed and agreed skill level of the carer and the number of children they are looking after. The fee element of payment is often the primary source of income for fostering households.
If approved, these pay increases would be backdated to 1st April 2022.
The council worked with current foster carers including the Leeds Foster Care Association to refresh the fostering finance policy and ensure it better reflects the needs of foster carers.
In addition to the increase in fees, the updated strategy also proposes a new savings scheme overseen by the council. If approved, a weekly amount of £5.00 will be deducted from the maintenance allowance and placed in a Junior ISA or Child Trust Fund for each child to ensure that they have a savings pot established.
Foster4Leeds, the council’s dedicated fostering service, is working hard to meet the increasing demand for foster carers, including an urgent need for carers who can look after children over 11 years old, sibling groups and those with additional needs.
The council’s aim is always to place looked after children with a Foster4Leeds foster family. When there isn’t a Foster4Leeds foster carer available to look after a child, the council must look to place them with an Independent Fostering Agency (IFA) which are costly and can lead to the child being placed outside of Leeds, potentially impacting on maintaining links with family and friends, and a change of school.
Councillor Fiona Venner, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult and children’s social care and health partnerships, said:
“We are fortunate to have many exceptional foster carers in Leeds but unfortunately the number of children in need of a placement continues to rise and there is an urgent need to both recruit more foster carers and keep hold of those already caring for our children.
“Foster4Leeds has always offered competitive financial support to its foster carers but the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on caring for a child cannot be ignored.
“The proposed increases will help us retain our current foster carers and recruit more, minimising the number of children that are placed away from their friends and school in costly external foster care and residential placements. It also demonstrates our recognition of the crucial role that foster carers play in the lives of our city’s most vulnerable children.”
Find out more about the benefits of fostering with Leeds City Council at www.foster4leeds.co.uk
Read the full executive board report here: Council and democracy (leeds.gov.uk)
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Leeds City Council