Levels of payment for Family & Friends Carers

Andi59
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:43 pm

Levels of payment for Family & Friends Carers

Postby Andi59 » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:24 am

Hi

When we were accepted as family and friends carers we were told that we would be paid at the Tier 1 allowance for our area with no possibility of moving up to Tier 2 or 3. We are very quickly realising that looking after our young person is a full time job even at the age of 16 and one of us may have to give up work in order to do this. I have read online in various places that the local authorities can no longer discriminate in this way and that family & friends carers should be allowed to move up the tiers as mainstream carers do. Can you help with this at all?

Many thanks

Andrea

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David Roth
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: Levels of payment for Family & Friends Carers

Postby David Roth » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:59 am

Andi59, your local authority should deal with you in the way prescribed in the government's Family and Friends Care Statutory Guidance. There is a section in chapter 4 of this statutory guidance that deals with how local authorities should treat family and friends foster carers. These are what the paragraphs dealing with payments and support have to say:

4.48 The National Minimum Standards for Fostering Services cover fostering services’ responsibilities with respect to all their foster carers, including those who are family and friends. Fostering services must deliver services in a way which ensures that family and friends foster carers are fully supported to care for children placed with them and are not disadvantaged as a result of their prior relationship with the child.

4.49 Fostering allowances to foster carers must be sufficient to meet the cost to the carer of caring for the child and should be at least the minimum set annually by the Department for Education. The allowances paid by a fostering service must be calculated for family and friends foster carers on the same basis as for all other foster carers, and any variations should relate to the child’s needs, the skills of the carer or some other relevant factor that is used as a criterion for all of the service’s foster carers.

4.50 A judicial review of Manchester City Council’s policy on payments of allowances to family and friends foster carers in 2001 (the Manchester City Council judgment) came about because foster carers who were relatives of the children they were caring for were paid significantly less allowance than non-relative carers. The court held it was unlawful to discriminate against family and friends carers by paying them a lower allowance than non-relative foster carers. There is no requirement to pay a fee to reward a carer’s time, skills, commitment, etc in addition to the allowance. Where a fee is paid, it must be payable to those foster carers who meet the criteria set out for the scheme, including foster carers who are family or friends.

This means that you should be getting paid the same basic allowance that gets paid to all other foster carers, or at least the government's national minimum recommended fostering allowance - you can see the government's rates here: https://www.gov.uk/foster-carers/help-w ... -fostering

It also means that if the local authority pays additional amounts, then family and friends foster carers should be eligible to receive this, if they qualify, on the same basis as any other foster carers. I would suggest asking to see how your local authority's policies on different tiers of payment works. They should not have a blanket policy saying that family and friends carers are ineligible. If they do, or if they have written to you saying this, then I would suggest that you can complain, on the basis of what the statutory guidance says.

You can read the full statutory guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... iends-care
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

Roma1
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:56 am

Re: Levels of payment for Family & Friends Carers

Postby Roma1 » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:36 pm

My understanding is that as a friends and family foster carer for a looked after child who has been placed as a result of care proceedings, I will be entitled to the allowance rate but NOT an Additional fee ? Is this correct?

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David Roth
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Re: Levels of payment for Family & Friends Carers

Postby David Roth » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:48 am

Egged, the legal situation you are describing is one where children are 'accommodated', that is to say they are 'looked after' children, but as a result of a voluntary agreement between the parents (or persons with parental responsibility) and the local authority.

There should be no distinction, in terms of the fostering allowance paid, between children who are under a care order and children who are accommodated. They are all looked after children. The only distinction should be based upon the additional expense that can be involved in looking after certain children, or as a payment to the carers because they have demonstrated they have the skills needed to look after particularly difficult or demanding children, or in recognition that the carers may have undertaken a certain level of foster care training. The legal status of the child should not come into it, as long as the child is a 'looked after child'.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

Nina lou
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:10 pm

Re: Levels of payment for Family & Friends Carers

Postby Nina lou » Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:46 pm

Hi there, im in a similar situation, found this group got lots of info and spoke with my SW.
SW is saying we don't get any other payments as other foster carers only receive the basic fostering allowance too....is this right??
My niece is a looked after child, have attended 2 LAC reviews and have another soon so would like more info to take with me to the next meeting.

many thanks.

Nicky555
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:46 pm

Re: Levels of payment for Family & Friends Carers

Postby Nicky555 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:36 pm

I'm in similar situation. Looking after a 14 year old and been approved as connected carer for last two years. It's section 20 and the local authority say I have to stay at level 1 and cannot progress despite having to do all the training and role of a main stream carer. I'm now going through assessment for mainstream to take other children but still at same level for my 14 year old. The local uthority has the standards for fostering on their website and I have tried to challenge through my supervising social worker that they are re discriminating against us because we knew her before she came to live with us. I don't want to seek legal support as this may then affect our new assessment. Can they keep me as connected for the 14 year old even if I'm approved as mainstream for other children?

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Levels of payment for Family & Friends Carers

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:49 pm

Dear Nicky555

Welcome to the Family and Friends Carers’ discussion forum.

My name is Suzie, online adviser, at Family Rights Group.

I am sorry that you feel that you are not being treated fairly by the local authority in respect of the fostering allowance you receive for the 14 year old you are caring for as a connected person.

The child is a looked after child under s.20 and you should be receiving fostering allowance at the same level as the local authority pay to its foster carers generally. You do not say whether the 14 year old has any particular needs that you have had additional training to meet. If you meet the criteria for an additional fee as paid to other foster carers in a similar position then you should receive the same payment.

You say in your post that you have been told you remain at level 1. If this the basic allowance for foster carers paid by your local authority and there are no additional needs then it might be you are paid appropriately. I suggest you check whether the child you are caring for falls into any other category for additional fee payment.

If you are receiving less the minimum fostering allowance because the child was known to you prior to placement, that would be wrong. All foster carers must be paid at the same level irrespective of whether they are related or know a child.
Please read our advice sheet
about the support family and friends carers can expect to receive when caring for a child.

The 14 year old’s placement is under section 20 and that will not change since you were assessed as a connected person and your position remains the same. Other children being placed with you will not be as a connected person but a foster carer.

Should you wish to speak to an adviser, please telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open Monday to Friday from 9.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie


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