Welcome to the Family and Friends’ Carers’ board and thank you for your posts. ied53 has already given you some very helpful advice.
I just wanted to add to this and link you up to some further information to assist you.
If your nephew does become subject to a full care order you will need to be fully approved as a foster carer. If your nephew was placed with you in an emergency before there was time to complete a full fostering assessment assessment this would be a regulation 24 placement to begin with but a full fostering assessment must be completed by a maximum of 24 weeks. If there is time to fully assess you then you should be fully approved as a foster carer before the child comes to you. You might find our advice sheet on family and friends carer: becoming a foster carer
As ied53 has explained the law states that family and friends’ foster carers should not be paid less than unrelated carers. There are nationally agreed fostering rates in England which you can look at here: help with the cost of fostering
. As ied53 also explains some foster carers will receive more than the minimum allowance, for example, if they have additional skills or if the child has additional needs.
Family and friends foster carers should also receive additional payments such as for birthdays, holiday and Christmas, in the same way that unrelated foster carers do.
You can ask the social worker to provide you with a full breakdown of the fostering allowances you would be paid and compare this with the rate being paid to unrelated foster carers. It is also a good idea to ask the social worker to provide you with details of training and support that you will be able to access if you are approved as a family and friends foster carer. If you are not being paid at the correct rate then you can challenge this by making a complaint or you can contact a lawyer who specialises in child care law or speak to an adviser at Family Rights Group on Freephone 0808 8010366 Mon – Fri 9.30 – 3.00.
Many family and friends carers who take on the care of children are on low income and this in itself should not rule you out if you are able to care for the child. The fostering allowance is meant to cover the cost of caring for the child such as food, clothes and other expenses.
In relation to housing benefit, ied53 is right to say that a fostered child is not counted as part of your household which can have implications for housing benefit. It sounds as if you are not currently claiming housing benefit so you might want to seek further advice about your eligibility from a specialist agency such as Citizens Advice
or check with your local council if you are eligible to apply and how this would be affected by a child coming to live with you under an approved fostering arrangement. Please do have a look at our advice sheet on support for relatives and friends caring for someone else’s child
. You might also find it helpful to look at the information provided by the Fostering Network in relation to finances
for foster carers.
If you have not received a copy of the local family and friends care policy for the local authority which is responsible for your nephew do search for it on FRG’s website under family and friends care local policies and contacts
or by asking your nephew’s social worker to provide it to you.
Also it might be worth having a look at our advice sheet powers and duties of local authorities when children are in the care system
as children’s services will be the main decision makers if your nephew is cared for by you under a care order rather than a Special Guardianship Order.
I hope this is helpful. Please do back to us as and when you need to.