Training and financial support for foster/kinship foster carers

If you're a foster/kinship foster carer, you can get help, training and financial support. This includes an allowance to cover costs, tax relief and help getting a State Pension. Social workers also visit to support you and the foster child.

Support and training for foster carers

All foster/kinship foster carers are reviewed every year. All foster/kinship foster carers get training to help them continue to offer the care and support needed by the children they are caring for. Their own supervising social worker will contact and visit them. The child's social worker will also visit. They can give advice and support.

Other support provided to Health and Social Care (HSC) foster/kinship foster carers:

  • access to 24 hour fostering social work support
  • support groups – many foster carers meet together in a support group with the help of their supervising social worker
  • short breaks (previously called respite) – Trusts can provide foster carers/children in foster care with short breaks when needed and when this is in keeping with the child's needs
  • access to education support, specialist social work support and psychological support

Fostering Achievement

You can also get support and training through the Fostering Achievement Initiative. This gives foster/kinship foster carers help with the educational needs of the children they are caring for. This includes credits to provide equipment and tuition for children and to help develop the carer's own knowledge and skills.

Support for foster carers outside office hours

When the office is closed, HSC foster carers can contact the Regional Emergency Social Work Service:

  • telephone 028 9504 9999

Allowance for foster carers

All foster/kinship carers get an allowance to cover the cost of caring for a child in their home. Some foster carers also receive a fee because they have certain knowledge and skills.

Financial support is also available to people supporting young people aged between 18 and 21 years old in:

  • education
  • training
  • employment
  • other initiatives

Foster Care Allowance amounts

From 1 April 2017

Age  A week Four weeks
0 to 4 £124.35 £497.40
5 to 10 £137.40 £549.60
11 to 15 £158.17 £632.68
16 and over £183.21 £732.84

These allowances include provision for food (including school meals), household costs (heating, electricity, general wear and tear), clothing and footwear, pocket money and travel costs. These figures could change.

Foster/kinship foster carers are free to spend the allowance on food, household and travel expenses as they feel benefit the child most. Carers receive additional payments for other essential items for birthdays and Christmas.

Foster carers and paying Income Tax 

Many foster/kinship foster carers don't pay tax on the money they receive from fostering. Foster/kinship foster carers can be free from tax on all or most of their fostering  allowance depending on:

  • how many children they look after
  • whether it is a full tax year
  • whether there are other foster/kinship foster carers in the same household

There is a fixed tax exemption of up to £10,000 a year (less if for a shorter period) which is shared equally among any foster/kinship foster carers in the same household, such as a grandparent or sibling.  After that, foster/kinship foster carers get tax relief for every week (or part week) that a child is in their care.

For every week (or part week) that a child aged 11 or older is with them, the foster carer's tax relief is £250 per child. For every week (or part week) that a child aged under 11 is in their care, the tax relief is £200 per child.

Foster carers and getting a pension

To find out if you qualify for National Insurance credits, go to:

If you reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016,  new State Pension replaces basic State Pension and additional State Pension.

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