More about fostering
Will I receive any financial help?
We pay a weekly allowance to cover the expenses of caring for a child or young person and the time you spend looking after them. All carers receive this payment.
In addition we recognise and reward carers’ commitment to personal development. If a carer attends 6 training events in a year this is recognised and rewarded. If a carer attends 6 support group sessions then this will be recognised and rewarded too.
The needs of the children in your care are also taken into consideration and an enhanced payment is made to carers caring for children with enhanced needs. An enhanced plus payment recognises the challenges of caring for the most traumatised children.
Allowances are currently subject to an annual review.
Will I pay tax on my earnings?
As a foster carer, you’ll be classed as self-employed and entitled to tax relief on your income, meaning you’ll pay very little (or no) tax and national insurance. The tax relief you receive depends on your own financial circumstances. Find out more with the HMRC e-learning guide for foster carers.
How long will it take for me to have my first placement?
You can begin taking placements as soon as you’ve been approved by the fostering panel. There’s no set timeframe from approval to first placement – this depends on your flexibility and our careful matching process.
What is Staying Put?
Staying Put is the arrangement whereby care leavers can choose to live with their foster carers beyond the age of 18, and until they are 21 in some cases. A change in the law in 2014 means that Devon County Council has a statutory duty to plan, monitor and support staying put arrangements through the provision of ongoing social work and financial support.
Often a young person and their foster carers will view the arrangement simply as an extension of fostering, albeit the young person is increasingly independent. Discussions about staying put should start between the young person and foster carer as early as possible, ideally before they reach the age of 16.
The significant difference is that in law staying put arrangements are not foster placements, because the young person is no longer a looked after child but an adult, and the fostering regulations, statutory guidance and national minimum standards no longer apply.
There is nothing new about foster carers continuing to provide a home to young people whom they have fostered; however the change in law moves this from an ad hoc arrangement to one which is legislated for until the age of 21.
To read a copy of Devon’s staying put policy click here.
Do I need a computer at home?
Yes, you will need to provide children and young people with access to a computer for them to complete their homework.
Are set up costs refundable?
We are unable to refund any expenses incurred in setting up the home for fostering.
Does the bedroom tax apply to foster carers?
For approved foster carers, one extra bedroom is allowed under the size criteria rules (‘bedroom tax’) for use by a foster child or children, in both the private and social rented sectors. One extra bedroom applies to:
– Approved foster carers who have a child placed with them
– Approved foster carers who are between placements (for a period of up to 52 consecutive weeks from the date of the last placement)
– Newly approved foster carers (for a period of up to 52 consecutive weeks from the date of approval, if no child is placed with them during that period)
Approved foster carers in the social rented sector (council or housing association tenants) – a reduction for under-occupation will not be made in respect of the one additional bedroom for the foster child or children.
Approved foster carers in the private rented sector – this means that the applicable Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate or Local Reference Rent (LRR) will be determined by including one additional bedroom for the foster child or children.
You must have a bedroom in addition to those occupied by your household for the additional room to be allowed in the size criteria (subject to a maximum of 4 bedrooms for LHA claims).
If you or your partner cease to be an approved foster carer or the approval is revoked, the additional room subsidy will cease to apply.
Further guidance can be found here.