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Theme of the Month; Understanding Foster Care Allowances:

In the realm of foster care, financial support mechanisms play a crucial role in ensuring the well-being and holistic development of foster children. The allocation and management of foster care allowances are essential aspects that foster carers navigate to provide the best care possible. This comprehensive guide aims to demystify the concept of foster care allowances, addressing common questions and offering guidance to foster families.

The Legal Framework

Underpinning the financial support provided to foster families are the National Minimum Standards, specifically Standard 2, which emphasizes the importance of fostering children’s independence and decision-making in personal spending, within reasonable limits set by foster families and aligned with a responsible parenting approach. These standards ensure that foster children receive a personal allowance appropriate to their age and understanding, consistent with their placement plan.

Weekly Allowances Explained

Foster carers receive a weekly allowance, which is a composite of funds intended for the household and the foster child. This financial support covers everything from the child’s personal needs to household expenses, aiming to replicate the support a child would receive in a traditional family setting.

Child’s Allowance

The child’s allowance varies with age: £75 per week for children aged 0-10 years and £90 per week for those aged 11-17 years. From this, £10 is earmarked for savings, managed by the fostering agency until the child leaves care. The remaining funds are dedicated to the child’s needs, including clothing, personal care, educational materials, and leisure activities, with foster carers required to maintain records of expenditures.

Carer’s Allowance

After deducting the child’s allowance, the remainder of the weekly funds is allocated to the foster carer. This portion covers the carer’s fee and household expenses such as food, with no obligation to track these expenses.

Special Considerations for Respite Care

In situations where a child requires respite care, the entire weekly allowance is transferred to the respite carer. Foster families are encouraged to include foster children in family holidays whenever possible, but arrangements and financial considerations for alternate care must be discussed and agreed upon without agency involvement.

Managing the Allowance

The management of allowances involves allocating funds across various categories, including savings, pocket money, and expenditures on necessities and activities. It’s essential for foster carers to involve the child in financial decisions, fostering financial literacy and independence.

Savings for the Future

A portion of the allowance is automatically saved for the child, promoting the importance of savings from an early age. Foster carers should encourage older children to manage their savings, offering guidance and support in financial planning.

Recording and Reporting Expenditures

Foster carers must keep detailed records of how the child’s allowance is spent, with periodic reviews by their Supervising Social Worker (SSW). These records help ensure transparency and accountability in the management of funds.

Empowering Financial Independence

As foster children grow, gradually increasing their control over their allowance is crucial for developing financial management skills. Discussions around financial independence should be collaborative, involving the child, foster carer, social worker, and SSW, tailored to the child’s age and maturity.

Pocket Money as a Learning Tool

Introducing pocket money from an early age is a practical way to teach children about the value of money, budgeting, and making informed spending decisions. Guidelines suggest compatibility with what other children in the household receive, with considerations for earning through chores discussed with the child’s social worker.

Tips for Managing Allowances

Foster carers are advised to avoid exceeding the allocated allowance, ensure any additional expenses are pre-approved, and regularly discuss financial matters with the foster child. Transparent and regular communication helps mitigate misunderstandings and disputes over finances.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How is the foster care allowance determined? A: The allowance is based on age-specific rates set by is, covering the child’s personal needs and contributing towards household expenses.

Q: Can foster carers save part of the child’s allowance for larger future expenses? A: Yes, unspent weekly allowances can be saved for larger expenses, such as clothing or holiday funds, with prior discussion and agreement on allocation.

Q: What happens if a foster child requires respite care? A: The weekly allowance is transferred to the respite carer for the duration of the care period. Financial arrangements for alternative care settings should be discussed between the foster carer and the respite provider.

Q: How can foster carers ensure they are managing the allowance correctly? A: Keeping detailed records, involving the child in financial decisions, and maintaining open communication with the fostering agency and social workers are key practices for correctly managing the allowance.


Navigating foster care allowances requires understanding, planning, and collaboration. By fostering financial independence and literacy from an early age, foster carers play a pivotal role in preparing foster children for a successful transition to adulthood. Through careful management of allowances, foster families can provide a supportive, nurturing environment that caters to the holistic needs of the child, paving the way for their future well-being and success.

This detailed guide seeks to empower foster families with the knowledge and tools needed to effectively manage foster care allowances, ensuring that the financial support provided truly benefits the foster child and contributes to their overall development and well-being.