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Fact! A third of people do not realise that you receive a fostering allowance

Thursday 24 March 2016

[Note: Content Updated October 2018]

Many people are completely unaware of the financial support that foster carers receive for taking children into care. Indeed, a survey found that a third of people don’t realise carers receive a fostering allowance when they choose to foster.

While financial reward is rarely the main reason why people choose to foster, it’s certainly something that can help in the decision and make fostering a more realistic option for many.

Whatever your circumstances, you’ll receive an allowance when you choose to foster, and this not only helps to cover the cost of looking after a child, but also gives you a weekly wage to help you settle into self-employment.

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If you’re unsure how financial support works for foster carers, we’ve put together a guide answering a few of the key questions we’re asked about this topic. Click the links below to find the information you need.

What is a fostering allowance and how much money will I receive?

When we make a placement with you, a fostering allowance is paid to cover the costs of looking after the child. This allowance starts at £376 per week. We give guidance on how the money is to be spent, which may include clothing, food and activities as well as contributing towards household utility bills.

woman calculating bills

As a foster carer, you will be self-employed and therefore responsible for your own tax and National Insurance. All NFA foster carers are given membership to FosterTalk which gives them free advice on financial issues. Due to the nature of fostering, we cannot guarantee you will always have a placement with you, so therefore financial stability is key.

Will I pay tax on the fostering allowance?

In most cases, our foster carers are exempt from paying tax on the fostering allowance, but this does depend on your circumstances. If, for instance, you foster multiple children and receive several separate allowances, or you have a part-time job which means you earn over the government’s tax threshold, you may have to pay some tax on the amount depending on your average household income.

In all cases, including if you have a part-time job, you’ll need to register as self-employed and pay National Insurance contributions at the end of each tax year by filling out a tax return.

Can I claim other benefits while receiving fostering allowance?

Again, this all depends on your circumstances and average household income. We can’t comment on individual cases, so recommend that you visit the government’s benefits portal to find out if you’re eligible to receive any further financial aid during your tenure as a foster carer.

foster family having breakfast

What does the fostering allowance cover?

The fostering allowance covers the cost of caring for a child, and is calculated to be sufficient for you and your fostering family to have a good quality of life. The minimum amount you will receive per child is £376 per week, and this is expected to cover things like travel, clothing, food, activities and so on. Basically, all the things you’d normally spend money on as a family.

Click here for more help and advice on financial support for fostering

Want to learn more about becoming an NFA foster carer? We’re always looking for budding new foster carers, so why not visit our website or give us a call today on 0330 022 9135. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Find out if you could be a foster carer
Find out if you could be a foster carer
In a few simple questions, you’ll know if you’re suitable to apply to become a foster carer.