Proposed increase in foster carer payments to be considered at council
Members will be asked to approve a proposal to substantially increase the payment to foster carers at the meeting of Highland Council on Monday 9 December.
The new payment proposal recognises the valuable role of foster carers in providing a home and care for the most vulnerable children within their Highland community.
The current payment structure for fees paid to foster carers comprises a weekly fee per household, irrespective of the number of children they have placed in their care. The new proposal would pay a fee per child and increase the fee by 20% from 1 January 2020.
We currently have 112 children and young people in our foster care service. The investment of £500k in foster care would help to increase the number of available placements in Highland by up to 20, consequently reducing the need to purchase more expensive placements from the Independent Fostering sector.
Foster Care is key to the Council being able to provide high quality care for children in their local communities at a very challenging time in their lives. Research demonstrates when children and young people receive good consistent care which is nurturing, long standing and where they can build relationships that make them feel loved, valued and accepted, this will enable better outcomes for them in the future and into adulthood.
The review of the Fostering Service is a project which seeks to retain more young people in the Highland area connected to their family and places they know, increase the number of children placed in our own foster care service or with family alternatives, reduce educational and social care spot-purchased placements and reduce spend on placements thereby making budgets more sustainable. In the last year, 42 children have returned to Highland or been able to remain in area through the programme, avoiding costs of over £6M. Nine of these young people are now in family-based placements.
Members will consider the proposal at their meeting on 9 December.