Foster carers in Nottinghamshire will get a pay rise of at least 27 percent from next month.
The council currently pays its carers a weekly allowance of between £130 and £194. These will increase fractionally, in line with the national minimum allowances for foster carers.
However the Conservative-controlled Nottinghamshire County Council is significantly increasing the extra payments it makes to the carers, by an average of 29 percent, and a minimum of 27 percent.
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It will only affect carers who foster directly with the county council, and will not apply to those who work with private fostering agencies.
The council says these fostering agencies cost on average £300 more per week.
It is hoped that the increased payments to its own, internal foster carers will help retain more carers as well attracting new ones, which will lessen the reliance on external agencies.
As at 31 March 2019, there were 875 Nottinghamshire looked after children in the county, of which 658 were in foster care and 225 placed with external foster carers.
More incentives for foster parents are also in the pipeline, including introducing a new discount-card scheme for use at local amenities and free access to a broad range of personal training courses from Inspire, which runs Nottinghamshire’s libraries.
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Conservative councillor Philip Owen is the chairman of the committee responsible for foster care.
He said: “Foster carers provide a vital service and they do an incredible job for children and young people across the county.
“Those people that devote their time and their lives to being foster carers are not primarily motivated by the financial aspects, but it is important that we recognise the important job they do and reward them appropriately.
“Becoming a foster carer for a child or young person makes a long-term difference and, as the number of children looked after by the council increases, we need more foster carers so that we can find good local homes for these children.
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“The stark reality is that when children are placed with external (independent) providers, this carries a significantly higher average cost for the council.
“The recruitment and growth of council foster carers is key to achieving both the best quality services for Nottinghamshire’s vulnerable children and best value for money for the authority.
“We hope that increased payments and an improved overall package will encourage new foster carers and help retain existing carers. This will strengthen the council’s fostering service for the good of Nottinghamshire children and young people and reduce the council’s reliance on independent foster agencies.”
Nottinghamshire currently pays its foster carers a weekly allowance of £130 (for a child aged 0-4 years), £143 (for a child aged 5- 10 years), £164 (for a child aged 11-15 years) and £191 (for a child aged 16-17 years).
These will increase fractionally.
But on top of this, the council pays people according to their experience.
Those with the most experience (level 4) who look after five to 18 year olds, will get an extra £31 a week – up to £139
The most experienced carers who look after zero to four year olds will get an extra £25 a week – up to £113.
Slightly less experienced carers will get an additional £13 a week, up from £47 a week.
The least experienced will now get £28. This is an increase of £6 for some, while for others it will be the first time they have got paid the extra experience-related money at all.
The move was unanimously approved by the county council today, Monday, July 15.
, Local Democracy Reporting Service