Connected persons rates

Kingfish
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:20 am

Connected persons rates

Postby Kingfish » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:47 pm

Hello,

My wife and I are connected persons foster carers for my wife’s niece. It is a long term placement with the court order stating this.

We receive the same allowance as a mainstream foster cater for an 11 year old but the professional fees are vastly different. The local authority that she falls under pats connected persons at stage 2 whereas mainstream carers start at stage 3.

Stage 2 weekly payments for professional fees are £16 and stage 3 abou £140.

We have questioned this discrepancy as we adhere to all fostering standards set up by the local authority, we complete as much training as possible and try to be active in forums / meetings despite living in a different authority.

Does anyone know if we can do anything about this discrepancy as it almost feels like discrimination against connected persons? We have spoken to our supervising social worker and she has said that historically it was because connected persons were set up as foster carers to prevent family placements being illegal and a lot of the standards were not expected of them however, this has changed over the years.

We have asked to progress to stage 3 as we are doing everything a mainstream carer with a long term placement is doing, we were put in the progression panel for stage 3 to 4 high we obviously did not get through which I would not expect to as I do not consider us to be the same standard as a stage 4 mainstream carer:

Our IRO at LAC reviews has supported our view but has been reprimanded by her superiors for chasing it up. It really feels unfair, the same local authority has recently raised professional fees slightly and removed the ability for claiming any mileage, babysitting and costs incurred to make sure everyone receives something which has made things even harder.

Apologies for such a long post I just wondered if anyone else has come across the same thing.

Thank you for reading,

K.

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 469
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Connected persons rates

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:48 am

Dear Kingfish,

Welcome to the Friends and family carers discussion board. I am sorry for the delay in responding to your post.

I can see that you and your wife have taken on the care of your wife’s niece, aged 11. You are her foster carers and this plan was approved by the court as being in the best interests of your niece.

You feel that you are being discriminated against because you are banded differently than a non-connected foster carer, in relation to the professional fees that are being paid to for you. The difference also seems to be based on the fact that you are related to your niece and it means you are receiving much less financial support.

I agree with you. It sounds like your local authority policy itself may be discriminatory, which is contrary to government guidance.

Is the local authority who pay you in England? If so, here is the relevant guidance. The Family and Friends Care Statutory Guidance 2011 .

Paragraph 4:44 of the guidance states that “there should be equity of provision and entitlement. It is not acceptable to discriminate against foster carers on the basis that they have a pre-existing connection with the child they are fostering”.

Para. 4.50 states that “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 you should be eligible to receive fees and enhancements on the same basis as any other foster carers.

This statutory guidance should be “complied with by local authorities when exercising these functions, unless local circumstances indicate exceptional reasons that justify a variation” (see para1:5).

There is also relevant case law. R (on the application of X) v London Borough of Tower Hamlets [2013] EWHC 480.

This judgment used the 2011 guidance I referred to above, to confirm that it is unlawful for a local authority to have a policy that singles out family and friends carers as being unable to receive enhancements to the fostering allowance.

I suggest you make a formal complaint to challenge the decision. In your letter ask for backdated payments as well. You could refer to the 2011 guidance and the Tower Hamlets case.
It is right that the IRO has taken up the decision made with senior managers. Do you have the minutes from the looked after child (LAC) review, which reflects the steps she has taken? You could add those to the complaint letter as well.

Here is our advice sheet about complaints which explains the complaints process.

You might also want to get your MP involved, as they often have a lot of sway with senior managers in children services departments.

I hope my advice helps but if you have any questions please post back or call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes,

Suzie


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