What will I be paid?
The financial cost of looking after fostered children is recognised in the form of an allowance paid. Fees are determined by expertise, training and experience. Our Foster Carers Payment Guide details the payments and allowances you may be entitled to as a foster carer.
All foster parents receive a foster care allowance to cover the cost of caring for a child.
The minimum is usually between £132 and £231 a week. The total amount you get depends on:
- the child’s age
- if the child has specific needs
- your skills and experience
An allowance of up to £200 can be paid for each child. Please note this amount is usually only paid once during each care career as the Fostering Allowance contains an element for clothing replacement, etc. The allowance paid must allow the carer to purchase sufficient and appropriate clothing for the child. Carers may choose to use the allowance initially in part, using the remainder at a later date.
The basic Fostering Allowance includes an element for travelling costs which are part of the normal pattern of expenditure incurred in looking after foster children. Travel costs which arise from the need to meet those Children & Young People’s Department requirements that are beyond the normal pattern of family expenditure can be claimed.
Examples of travel which the Foster Carer would be expected to absorb within the fostering allowance would include:
- Normal trips for medical appointments if local to the Foster Carer.
- Transport to and from school where the school is less than 1 mile from the foster home.
- Taking and collecting the child from social activities.
Examples of travel which the Department would expect to meet would include:
- Travel to and from school where the school is more than 1 mile from the foster home and where the child is not entitled to a school bus pass. Foster Carer’s may claim the full cost of the journey in such circumstances.
- Transport to and from contact meetings.
- Attendance at reviews, case conferences and child protection meetings.
- The cost of travel to and from hospital and hospital parking charges where the child has a regular appointment with a hospital consultant or specialist.
- Attendance at a training session provided by Wirral Fostering Service. Where public transport is used, costs will be met in full. Car travel will be paid for at the rate of 38.7pence per mile, taking the shortest route possible. All travel expenses should be itemised and submitted using the appropriate Department form.
Tax arrangements when you foster
When you start fostering, you’ll need to register as self-employed and file tax returns.
You’ll also be entitled to qualifying care relief which means you’ll:
- earn £10,000 from fostering before you have to pay tax
- get tax relief for every week you foster a child
Being a foster parent can affect the benefits you get. If you’re claiming benefits you’ll need to tell the organisation that pays you that you’re also getting foster care allowance.
Use a benefits calculator to check what benefits you’re eligible for.
For more help on how your benefits may change, contact:
- the organisation that pays you
- Fosterline - a free fostering advice service
The HMRC will treat you as being self-employed for the ‘work’ you do as a Foster Carer; therefore you would need to register with HMRC. Once registered a self-assessment form will need to be completed at the end of each financial year.
Since April 2003 the tax system for foster carers is called Foster Care Relief. Under this system you are exempt from paying tax on your fostering allowance, up to set limit.
The HMRC has a really good e-learning package which will help you with all your ‘need to knows’. It’s also a good idea to follow HMRC on Twitter to make sure you’re kept up to date with what’s going on.