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Foster carers struggle on poverty wages

The majority of foster carers earn less than the national living wage, a charity has reported.

The Fostering Network polled a representative sample of 1,937 foster carers. No less than 82 per cent of these earned fees from their local authority or pagency for their services but, in 88 per cent of those cases the fees were lower than the national living wage of £7.50 per hour. This is an enhanced version of the national minimum wage (currently £6.70 per hour)

Fifty-two per cent of the foster carers in fact said they earned less than £4 per hour in fees. Nearly a quarter, meanwhile, earned less than £1.70.

The majority of those receiving the lowest fees worked for local authorities.

The Fostering Network called for a substantial bump in foster carer fees. Chief executive Kevin Williams explained:

“It is a matter of social justice that foster carers should be paid. But it’s also a matter of economics – money spent supporting fostering and foster carers now will save society significantly more money in the future.”

He added:

“We believe that pay is a key factor in both recruitment and retention. Not only is it an issue for current carers, but – looking to the future – without adequate pay for all, the demographic pool of foster carers will remain limited to those who feel they can afford to foster without fee payments or with minimal fee payments.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Helen Dudden says:

    I would have concerns that the best could be achieved for children, with that attitude of minimum salaries.

  2. Mike Howard says:

    It would be very interesting to see how these calculations are arrived at, how many hours do they claim that they “work” each week?
    I would put money on the fact that no Foster Carers receive less than the fostered child’s family would receive if the children had been supported by council services to remain with their families.
    How about the fostering agencies taking less in fees and paying their “workers” more?
    I note that this does not mention that Foster Carers “pay” is in fact an allowance and is not taxable.
    Any Foster carer who will work for the same allowances that parents would receive and give the rest to charity deserves the title CARER, I have never met a single one prepared to do that, until I do I will continue to see them as part of the problem that is our financially motivated “Care?” system and consider them to be merely Foster Wardens keeping children for profit.

    • Alison says:

      Your attitude and opinion are incorrect. Shame on you.
      (*Comment moderated)

      • Hayley Hirst says:

        This is laughable. Whilst pay cannot be a driver for being a good carer good intentions do not pay the bills. We put in care 24/7 and I would challenge anyone who believes otherwise. These children are traumatised and in my experience are rarely able to sleep for more than a few hours. I would also like to see the figures you clearly think we get paid and are expected to look after our own family on.

        • TC says:

          ‘Children come to us traumatised’…..Are you serious? The majority of children in foster care don’t need to be there. That is a statement of fact. I considered fostering many years ago. I genuinely did not know people were ‘paid’ to do this. I always assumed people did it for the right reasons. I had ‘informally’ fostered a child for 6 years. It never dawned on me to ask the Mother for any money.
          And I have met ‘foster CARERS’ who are in it just for the money.

        • Mike Howard says:

          Traumatised yes, mostly by Social Services.
          Spend the money wasted on Solicitors, rent a report experts contact centres and all the other hangers on involved on Services in the community to help families in difficulty and there will be much fewer children in need of care and there will be no need to advertise for Foster Carers as they do currently, using the allowances as a big part of their marketing campaign. This is very likely to attract people to Fostering for totally the wrong reasons.

  3. Julie Haines says:

    Is it a job or an act of kindness? I am very unclear but when I was a teacher I had a pupil who openly bragged about the extension the house, the new people carrier and the £1600 per week from fostering. Plainly they had too many children in their care. Definitely money grabbing.

    • Mike Howard says:

      Hi Julie, “Good intentions do not pay the bills”
      I wonder what a family court judge would reply if a parent used that in court?

      • Nuke says:

        If a parent used it he’d say lock their kids up.

        If an ss said it he’d praise them for their professionalism.

        Frankly if an ss said the parents were actually green aliens in human bodies he’d say lock their kids up.

        Foster parents next door get £650 a week tax free for looking after one kid. Which yes is less than £4 an hour.

        It’s also £34k a year tax free, which is just under £50,000 a year taxed.

  4. TP says:

    I used to Foster. I was paid £153 weekly for 1 child under the age of 10. Any child older than 10 is on a higher rate.
    I didn’t do the job for the wage, I did it because I believed that children needed love and a stable home.
    I soon realised that isn’t the case. Seeing fraudulent paperwork from social workers, being involved with LAC meetings for the child, parents and other professionals made me rethink about fostering.
    Seeing parents distraught over losing their child because of lies or twisted truths to suit social services was heart breaking.
    After I refused to sign paperwork about a child in my care that was full of lies made my mind up that this wasn’t for me.

    My refusal became an issue. I became harassed by one particular SW; whom, I might add, messed up the placement of the child by sending all my daughter’s information (6yrs old at the time) to the child’s parents. The very parents who he had said we’re: unstable, volatile, deceitful and dangerous. They had my daughter’s DON, school and home address in their hands. Luckily they were none of the adjectives used by the SW. I mentioned his mistake to his manager, among many other mistakes he’d made.

    After this child went back home to his family after 9 months in my care. I gave up fostering.
    The incompetent SW then came after me. He decided to investigate me. My child who loves school is an A* student, very happy and confident had to be interviewed by him. He then attempted to change my words to suit him. Unfortunately for him I made him correct his wording to my exact wording. I also recorded him during his interviews. After 4 days he contacted me to say he had no evidence to pursue a section 47.
    Unfortunately he hadn’t bothered to let her head teacher know about the no evidence and no further action. My daughter’s school records will say that she is under a section 47 protection and he is able to leave it like that. I have spoken to her head and even though she knows its not true she has to leave it in place until SS say otherwise.
    All this because I refused to tow the line and sign paperwork of lies and -in his words- “tittle tattle to his manager about his mistakes” Ive spoken to police about what i can do and their response is, “Social Services are avove the law, they run by their own rules and anything they say is final; regardless of any proof of otherwise.”

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