South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet has approved a £300,000 boost to fees and allowances paid to foster carers in South Gloucestershire.
At the meeting on Monday 4 February, South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet agreed the additional support to enhance our foster care service with additional allowances for foster carers who are able to provide greater stability for children and young people. Specifically, plans have been put in place to allow us to better support children and young people with more complex needs.
We want to maximise our ability to recruit and retain foster carers within a highly competitive regional market and with the broader context of a regional and national shortage of carers. This additional funding will enable South Gloucestershire to match the fees and allowances of competing local authorities (other than Gloucester) and private providers in the area. It will help ensure our fostering service remains competitive, attractive to new foster carers and supports the retention of our current foster carers.
The funding will also support a ‘fostering plus’ scheme for a small specialist cohort of carers, who are able to care for children and young people with highly complex needs. This will help achieve savings in the long run, as many young people with complex needs have previously proved difficult to place in-house and have necessitated high cost placements within independent provision.
Additionally the extra money will enable us to award the foster carers fee element to ‘staying put’ carers. South Gloucestershire has a staying put policy to enable young people to remain in their former foster placement after they reach 18 years of age. Currently, staying put providers are paid an allowance to cover the young person’s needs and associated cost but are not awarded the foster carers fee. The new funding will enable us to award this fee.
Cabinet Member for Children and Young People Cllr Jon Hunt said: “We recognise South Gloucestershire’s foster carers for the important but difficult task they do and we are pleased to be able to provide this additional support.
“Bringing our fees and allowances in to line with our neighbouring local authorities will enable us to strengthen our current position and effectiveness in recruiting and retaining foster cares regionally. These up lifts to fees and allowances compare favourably to those of our neighbours and independent provision, and help to reduce our spend on independent high cost provision.”
For more information about fostering in South Gloucestershire visit www.southglos.gov.uk/fostering