Foster carers often ask if they are responsible for paying for the presents that they buy for looked after children. Fosterline Manager, Steven Stockley shares his advice.

This is a question we get asked on a regular basis in the run up to Christmas. We have to direct foster carers back to their fostering service because every fostering service is entitled to draw up their own policies. However, they must comply with legislation and regulations taking into account statutory guidance which explains how fostering services should interpret legislations and regulation taking into account the National Minimum Standards (NMS) 2011 as set out by the Department for Education.

NMS 28 covers the minimum expectation of payments to foster carers. The fostering services policy on payments to their foster carers would cover this under NMS 28.1 which states that each foster carer receives at least the national minimum allowance for the child plus any necessary agreed expenses for the care, education and reasonable leisure interests of the child or young person, including holidays, and religious festivals etc. which covers the full cost of caring for each child placed.

NMS 28.5 states that the fostering service should have a clear and transparent written policy on payments to foster carers.

There are some fostering services that will provide additional payments at Christmas and birthdays to help with the cost of providing presents whereas some fostering services would incorporate the finances for presents within their weekly payment to the foster carer.

Our advice would be to check with your supervising social worker and discuss with the child’s social worker especially if a certain present was to cost a significant amount.

For any other advice, call us weekdays on 0800 040 7675.

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