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Kinship foster carers – are you receiving all that you are entitled to?

Are you a Kinship Foster Carer for a relative child? Are you caring for them under a Care Order after being approved at Panel? Are you receiving all the allowances that you may be entitled to?

The answer to the latter question is often “I don’t know”.

Did you know that there are often misconceptions that if you are related to a child that you foster;

  • You are not entitled to any financial support because you are related to the child; or
  • You are only entitled to receive the basic fostering allowance; or
  • You are not entitled to receive any additional allowances paid to mainstream foster carers

None of the above is correct. In fact, as a connected persons carer, you are entitled to receive exactly the same as a mainstream foster carer.

Helen Moody, specialist kinship care solicitor at Ridley & Hall solicitors: “I recently attended a kinship support group. There were a handful of kinship foster carers who had been through exactly the same fostering assessment as mainstream foster carers, exactly the same fostering training but they had been informed from their respective Local Authorities, that because they were related, they would only be paid the basic fostering allowances”.

This is not the case. As long as the relative foster carer meets any criteria for being paid additional allowances, this should be paid. The connected person carers should be told by their Local Authority the criteria for payment of extra allowances and be given the opportunity to undergo any training required. This is what a mainstream foster carer would be informed of and so too should a relative foster carer.

“I was contacted on behalf of an Aunt who, after only receiving the basic fostering allowance for her niece and nephew for 3 years, contacted me about additional allowances. I could not find any published criteria on the LA’s website however I wrote to them asking them to confirm what the Council’s allowance rates were and set out my argument that the Aunt should have been receiving them on top of the basic allowance”.

It transpired that the aunt should have been made an additional allowance of £237 per week per child. This meant that the Aunt had missed out on an additional £474 per week on top of the basic allowance she had always received. The Council agreed that they had made an error and that a back dated payment was due to the Aunt of almost £91,000.”

It was a case involving Tower Hamlets in 2013 which set a precedent in law that kinship carers should not be discriminated against on the grounds of a pre-existing relationship with a child. All Local Authorities should adhere to this however, many often do not. If you would like some further information about what you might be entitled to, please do not hesitate to email Helen or call us on 0843 289 7130.

Helen Moody

       Helen Moody – Solicitor



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