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Fostering with The Hazel Project

Foster Parent Pay 

Children playing football in a field

Why should Foster Parents be paid well?

While no-one should be motivated to foster purely for the money, very few people have the luxury of being able to afford to foster (well) without the money. Let's explore why we feel that it is so important that our Hazel Project Foster Parents receive a higher than average, liveable wage for this incredibly important work.

Children are expensive

Many of our children have come from backgrounds of poverty, where money has been sparse and things that most of us take for granted, like a fridge well stocked with food, or shoes that fit, aren’t things that they are used to or expect. We want our foster children to know that they are valued and deserving of nice things and we want to ensure that our foster families can afford to provide them. If Tiana wants to play for the local football team, we want our Foster Parents to be able to afford to pay the monthly subs with ease and buy her some nice new football boots that she can be proud to wear. And the joy that you will feel when she scores top bins will mean that they were worth every penny.

Young Person thinking against a wall

Fostering is time consuming

Toddlers playing on the floor
Young Person playing in the garden

Foster children need Foster Parents who are really there for them, not just physically present but emotionally present too. While most children who have enjoyed a safe, stable and nurturing childhood adjust well to going to breakfast, after school or holiday clubs, our children, particularly in the first few months of being with you, will need the stability of knowing they can enjoy their new safe space called home and deserve your full commitment to building a relationship with them so that they can begin to develop their trust in you. Get all of the boring jobs; washing, cleaning and shopping done in the daytime while they are at school or nursery so that you have the time to build a blanket fort with them when they get home, or help them with their reading or jump on the Xbox and play a game of Fortnite.

We need at least one Foster Parent to be available to the child/ren at all times. Most of our children will have had a disrupted education and, coupled with being exposed to trauma, this often means that they struggle in school, either with their emotions or their behaviour. Even the most understanding of employers may become frustrated when you are called out of the office to pick a child up from school for the 10th time that month or if you are late for the third time that week as you have spent the last hour coaxing a child out of the door and into school! The subsequent stress of feeling guilty and torn between placating your boss but also being there for your struggling foster child can really take a toll. By earning a good wage from fostering, this stress is relieved and you can focus on helping foster children to thrive.

You may need to transport your foster child/ren to regular family time, to help nurture the often fragile relationships that they have with Mum, Dad, siblings or grandparents. And then dedicate your time to helping them to cope with the various emotions that they will feel afterwards - there's no harm in a cheeky trip to Nandos every now and again to encourage that little smile back on their face.

The responsibilities of fostering
are immense

Fostering means caring for other people’s children, children who may not respond in ways that you would expect and who will need a patient and creative approach. Each of our children deserve to be encouraged to reach their full potential and this takes great skill and dedication.

 

There is stacks of professional development and training for Foster Parents to complete to enable you to be educated about childhood trauma and be equipped to deal with the various behaviours that foster children can display which stem from their early childhood experiences. And meeting up with other Foster Parents for supervision and training can be super useful - tips a plenty.

What children need fostering

Foster Parents are professionals

Fostering when you have a dog

When fostering, there are daily reports to write and lots of meetings to attend; with schools, with local authorities and with health professionals. You will be the main cog in the fostering wheel and your foster children need you to be confident in speaking up and advocating for them in professional meetings. We need people with a unique set of skills and we need to pay them well, or they will potentially be lost to other professions.

Others working in vocational professions such as nurses, carers, social workers, teachers and nursery workers are never accused of doing their jobs for the money and the majority of the public think they deserve to be paid far more – and, unlike Foster Parents, they get to go home and switch off after a hard shift. Foster Parents care for the most vulnerable children in our society 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and fully deserve to be paid well for the amazing work that they do. The Hazel Project founding directors grew up in a fostering family and have devoted their lives to improving standards of care for children, raising the profile of  the value of good fostering and the deserved recognition of absolutely amazing Foster Parents.

The Hazel Project pay structure 

The fostering rates paid for each child are dependent on their needs, as agreed with the child's referring local authority and will be discussed with you before child/ren are welcomed into your family. The following are usual rates with a very basic explanation given for each. This will be discussed in much greater detail with you. Each child's needs and past experiences are very different and children with more significant needs will need more time, expertise and specialist equipment or interventions.

Standard - a child not known to have any additional needs: £481.94 per week.

Enhanced - a child with some additional needs: £602.42 per week.

Specialist - a child with significant additional needs: £783.63 per week.

Solo - a child who will benefit from being the only child in the household: £992.80 per week.

Parent & Child - parents being assessed on their ability to care for their children can spend time within a foster family, to be given an opportunity to learn the necessary skills to safely parent: £926.81 per week.

Hippocratic - children who would otherwise be in residential care (children's homes) due to their high level of needs or challenging behaviour: £961.54 per week.

Ebed - emergency bed provision, often very short term: £1,407.00 per week

Monies intended as payment for your services (professional fees), monies intended to provide for the care of the child (maintenance fees), savings and pocket money are all included within these rates and you have the freedom to budget accordingly. There are guidelines on how much should be spent on specific things like clothes each month but we are all aware that some months children need more spent than others - growth spurts, changes in weather or back to school being good examples.

In some circumstances, The Hazel Project is bound to offer discounts against rates charged for the services that we provide for siblings or children in longer term care due to contracts or terms and conditions imposed by local authorities - again this would all be discussed in advance of any child/ren joining your family.

Fostering and tax

In the vast majority of cases, fostering is now tax-free as the government recognises the amazing work that is being done by Foster Parents. Foster Parents have self employed status and will need to file tax returns. In your tax return, you can claim a tax exemption of up to £18,140 per fostering household and in addition, you will receive a tax relief for each child that you foster, known as qualifying care relief. For under 11s, this is £375 per week and for 11 or over, £450 per week. So, for example, if you were fostering a 14 year old for 52 weeks, you would need to earn £50,540 in fostering fees before you paid any tax that year.

Our finance team would be happy to chat through any fostering related finance questions in more detail, please call 01795 470 222.

For more information about tax breaks given to Foster Parents and some examples of how this works, visit; The Fostering Network Tax FAQ's

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