Council reveals new plans to increase foster parent payments in Doncaster

Doncaster Council is planning to increase the allowance foster carers receive so more children in the social care system can be looked after closer to home.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 11:22 am

New documents show social care bosses are set to invest £840,000 in order to ‘improve the in-house offer and reduce the dependency on high cost independent foster care provision’.

It comes as council bosses outline huge pressures social care is under with more children being referred to services since the start of the pandemic.

A report seen by councillors shows that foster carers are ‘extremely dissatisfied’ with current payments while some ‘do not feel valued’.

Doncaster Council is planning an increase in payments to foster carers. Credit: George Torr/LDRS

DMBC is proposing changes to the ‘Skills Based Payment Scheme’ which currently has three levels of foster carers. More experience, undertaking training and looking after more complex children will result in higher payments.

Level one foster carers would now receive £100 – from zero while level two foster carers would get a basic allowance of between £16 to £63 per week. The figure increases the older the child is.

All level two families looking after children from under age one to 16 plus would also receive £150 per week per ‘additional skills element per child’.

Level three foster carers would get a basic allowance of between £118 to £267 per week with an extra £267 per week for ‘additional skills element per child’.

The council is also looking at bringing in a level four tier which would result in payments of £300 per week per child.

Bosses set out a strategy back in October 2019 with a focus on more in-house provision, more foster carers and acquiring more properties to keep children in care closer to home.

But a report outlines an increase in the volume, ‘profile and complexity of children coming into care, presenting at an older age with complex needs’.

Andy Hood, assistant director for practice improvement, said: “The strategy includes increasing local foster care provision so we can keep children and young people closer to home and repatriate where appropriate as quickly as possible.

“Foster carers have been informing the management team that they do not feel valued and upon further exploration, this has been based on the financial reward they receive under their contract for services as self-employed persons.

“A review of child basic allowances and skills payment has recommended an increase in relation to these payments based on the rise in cost of living and ensuring competitive skills payments.

“This is an ‘invest to save’ strategy that will support better recruitment and retention of foster carers which achieves better value for money.”