All foster carers receive a weekly fostering allowance (paid monthly) which is intended to cover the costs of looking after a child in foster care, such as clothing, food, savings and pocket money.
Each fostering service sets its own allowance levels, and the amount varies depending on the age of the child.
Affinity Fostering typical pay their carers an allowance of between £399 - £714 per child, or more, per week based on factors such as the age of the young person, type of placement and experience level of the foster carer.
Included in the fostering allowance is a fee for foster carers in recognition of their time, skills and experience. Use our calculator to work out a personalised allowance.
Foster carers are treated as self-employed for tax purposes.
There is a specific tax scheme foster carers can use called Qualifying Care Relief. The scheme calculates a tax threshold unique to the fostering household which determines if a foster carer has to pay any tax from their fostering.
Anyone who is self-employed must register to pay Class 2 National Insurance Contributions. If a foster carer’s taxable profit from self-employment is nil or below £6,725 (2022/23) they automatically qualify for the Small Profit Threshold (SPT) and will be exempt from paying the contributions.
The individual circumstances of the foster carer will determine if this is the best option for them or whether they have to make other arrangements to maintain their National Insurance record.
Further information about tax and National Insurance is available on HM Revenue and Customs website.
A fostering service may have their own policy regarding foster carers and employment, but it is often possible to work part-time particularly if caring for school age children. Depending on the needs and age of children it may even be possible to work full-time.
Foster carers are expected to be available to care for children, attend meetings, training, support groups, and to promote and support contact between a child and their family.
Fostering services would not usually consider it appropriate for a fostered child to be in full-time day care while their foster carer works, but may consider use of after school clubs and other child care arrangements for older children.
If you currently claim welfare benefits you are likely to be able to continue to claim while fostering.
Foster carers are approved rather than employed by their fostering service, and this status has a particular effect on means tested benefits.
In the main, fostering payments when a child is placed with a foster carer are disregarded when calculating welfare benefits.
Alternatively, foster carers may be able to claim Working Tax Credit because fostering is regarded as ‘work’ by HMRC when they have a child in placement.
Previous financial problems should not prevent you from fostering.
You will need to be able to show that you are now financially secure enough to provide a stable home for any children who are placed with you, and that you are able to manage the fostering allowances paid to you.
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