Lancashire foster carers will continue to get top-up allowances

The most experienced and skilled foster carers will continue to receive “enhancement” allowances from Lancashire County Council.

The authority has issued the top-up payments for nearly a decade and its cabinet recently voted to continue to do so for the next year.

Lancashire foster carers receive one of three tiers of allowance, which is partly determined by the level of service they can offer.

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Tier 1 fosterers are given a rate equivalent to the national minimum standard, which this year has been set at £138 per week for 0-4-year-olds, rising to £202 for 16-17-year-olds. Tier 2 carers receive an extra £115 per week, while those in tier 3 get an additional £230 over and above the basic rate.

Some foster carers in Lancashire receive additional payments over and above the national minimum standard

A “tier 3+” category sees payments negotiated on an individual basis, depending upon the complexity of the foster placement concerned.

County Cllr Cosima Towneley, recently appointed to the newly-created role of cabinet member for children and families, expressed the authority’s gratitude to all those who care for “children that come from challenging circumstances”

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“It is up to us to make sure that those challenging circumstances are turned around to the best of our ability to give them the life chances each and every child deserves.”

She said of the enhancement payments: “It helps those that are taking on these serious roles to care for children – some of whom have extremely challenging behaviours – and also allows them the benefits that other children would have in every other home.”

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Council leader Phillippa Williamson, who thanked foster carers for their efforts during the pandemic, added that it was “important that we have an allowance scheme that compares favourably with private sector providers – and this one does”.

An initial allowance to ensure children entering foster care are adequately clothed will once again be set between £440 and £695, in addition to £230 to cover the cost of a school uniform for a child entering or transferring to a new school.

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Allowances for holidays will continue to range from £287 to £541, depending on age. Birthday allowances will remain at £114 for all ages, while those for religious festivals will run from £172 to £195.