commonly asked questions: foster carer pay

We come across a lot of people who are interested in becoming foster carers whose main reason for wanting to do so is all about making a difference to a child’s life and giving them a loving, supportive and safe home, something they rightly deserve. However, we are also realistic and understand that people have bills to pay and therefore, if they are going to give up a job to pursue fostering or cut back their hours, they need to know that the fees and allowances that foster carers receive, will cover their essential outgoings.

Below are a range of questions that people frequently ask which hopefully will provide a clearer picture of how it all works!

how much will I get paid?

Foster carers receive a weekly child allowance to help cover the costs of caring for a child and a weekly foster carer fee for every child they care for.

Currently, our fees and allowances are below.

Weekly child allowance – per child

  • 0-4 years = £188
  • 5-10 years = £175
  • 11-15 years = £210
  • 16+ = £213

Weekly carer fee – per child

  • 0-4 years = £140
  • 5-10 years = £161.28
  • 11+ = £175

Those carers who offer short breaks or respite for children will receive the same carer fee and child allowance as mainstream carers but on a pro-rata/per day basis.

will I receive any additional payments for birthday or Christmas?

Yes, you will. We are one of a few fostering services that actually provide their carers with additional payments for birthdays, Christmas and holidays. You will receive these additional payments for every child you care for.

what happens if a child is placed with me in an emergency and comes to me with little or no belongings?

In emergency situations where the child has little or no belongings, we will provide carers with a one-off payment to cover the costs of what was needed for the child.

do you still get paid if you have no children living with you?

Yes, you will get paid a retainer fee if you:

  • are available to foster
  • you will consider children across a wide approval age range
  • have no other foster child placed with you
  • if the children who need a foster placement are not deemed a match with you

is there any financial help to get a bigger house as we want to foster?

Unfortunately not. We do not have the power or influence to help you get a bigger property in order for you to foster. Likewise, the council’s housing department can’t place you in a bigger council property on the agreement that you’ll be a foster carer.

is foster care pay taxed?

Generally not. Income tax exemption on foster care pay is called ‘Qualifying Care Relief’ and means that you don’t need to pay tax on the first £10,000 your household makes in any year. Foster care pay is subject to additional tax relief of up to £250 a week for every week a child is in your care.

At the end of each tax year, you will need to do a simple calculation to see what your tax threshold is for the tax year and whether or not you have gone over it. If you have, this is called taxable profit and you might have to pay tax.

i’m on benefits. if i foster, will this affect my payments?

No, due to ‘Qualifying Care Relief’, most benefits you receive will not be affected by being a foster carer.

If you are receiving foster carers’ pay (fostering allowance), you are still entitled to receive certain benefits. Your fostering allowance will not affect your eligibility for Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, or Carers’ Allowance/Disability Living Allowance for your own child. Fostering counts as self-employment, so you may be entitled to Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

The only exception is Jobseeker’s Allowance which will be affected if you are receiving a fostering allowance.

do we have to save any money for the children who are placed with us?

Every week, £5 is automatically deducted from the child allowance payment that foster carers receive.

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