Fostering fees and allowances

As a foster carer you receive weekly payments. These are made up of a Skill level fee payment and a fostering allowance to cover the costs of the children you are caring for. Both payments are paid per child per week. The rates are set out below.

Skill level fee payment

The pay you receive is based on your experience and training completed as a carer. New carers will be approved at level one, we offer the training and support to progress to a level 2 and 3 where you can receive a higher rate of pay. The rates are:

Children aged 0 to 4

level 1 £125
level 2 £190
level 3 £210

Children aged 5 to 7

level 1 £150
level 2 £190
level 3 £210

Children aged 8 and over

level 1 £185
level 2 £200
level 3 £210

Fostering allowance

The intention is that this allowance covers all the costs of looking after a child, including food, clothing, activities, pocket money, transport, gas, electric, etc. The rates paid are: 

  • children aged 0 to 4 £141
  • children aged 5 to 10 £156
  • children aged 11 to 15 £177
  • young person aged 16 and over £207

Additional payments for foster carers

We make additional payments to carers to support other one-off costs during the year. For example we offer grants for:

  • clothing
  • festivals eg Christmas, Eid and birthday for each child
  • an annual holiday grant to take children away on holiday
  • grants for specific activities to help with children’s development

We give all newly approved foster carers financial support to purchase the equipment needed to prepare for the first placement. This is at the rate of £750 for care of under 3 year olds and £400 for over 3 year olds.

We also support foster carers to cover the cost of travel incurred as part of their fostering duties at the rate of 45p per mile.

Examples of fees and allowances

A level 1 newly approved foster carer caring for 1 child aged 14 would receive:

  • skill level fee £185 per week
  • weekly fostering allowance £177 per week
  • basic annual total £18,824

A level 2 foster carer looking after one child aged 3 and one child aged 8 would receive:

  • skill level fee £190 for child 1 and £200 for child 2 = £390 per week
  • weekly fostering allowance £141 for child 1 and £156 for child 2 = £297 per week
  • weekly total £687
  • annual total £35,724

Between placements

Generally, we can’t provide foster carers with any payments between placements.

The exceptions to this are:

  • foster carers providing Emergency/Out of Hours fostering who will receive a payment for being available outside office hours
  • foster carers providing Remand or PACES beds who will receive a retainer to ensure that the bed is available to the Youth Justice Service when they need it

Part time fostering

For those who want to do Holiday Support Care or Community Support Care this is paid with a flat fee of £125 plus an allowance based on the age of the child (as above), which is then worked out pro-rata for the amount of time you care for the child.

The Short Breaks Scheme payments are higher than the payments for other types of fostering in recognition of the skills and experience needed to care for children with disabilities. Foster carers are paid £88 for an overnight period of care (up to 24 hours). For additional hours or other day time care it's £10.15 an hour. Foster carers are also paid this rate for any meetings or training they need to attend in relation to the child they care for.

Tax and benefits

Fostering fees and allowances do not count as an income for tax and benefit purposes and thus don’t affect any benefit entitlement. Full time foster carers may be able to claim a combination of working tax credits, job seekers allowance and/or income support (plus other benefits they may be entitled to) depending on their individual circumstances. While the introduction of Universal Credit is likely to affect fostering, it will continue to disregard fostering fees and allowances for tax and benefit purposes.

Contact Fostering Services