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Types of foster care and payments

Our foster carers

Foster carers are people approved by the council's fostering service to care for looked after children  up to the age of 18-years and beyond, in their own homes.

The length of time that children can stay with foster carers will vary from child to child. Foster carers provide a stable, protective environment family environment to a child, meeting all of their needs and helping them to reach their potential.

Types of foster care in Darlington

There are many different types of foster care. As part of your fostering assessment, you will explore what type or type of fostering is best suited to your skills and experience and to your household.

Short breaks

This involves having children to stay with you for a short time so that their families can have a regular break. This could involve a few hours a week, a weekend, a month or in an emergency to provide help and support. Short break fostering is usually provided to disabled children, supporting parents in their caring role.

Respite foster care

This is where foster carers provide short placements to support other foster carers, for example if they need to have a holiday to “re-charge their batteries”. Some foster carers prefer to offer a respite care if they are not available all of the time to provide full time placements. Others provide a respite placement alongside other types of fostering.

Short term

This is when a foster family cares for a child due to difficulties or illnesses in the family, from an overnight stay, a few weeks or few months. Offering a safe place for them to live, you will understand what is happening and be able to offer support, whilst everything is done to return the child home as soon as possible.

Long term

Sometimes a child may need to live with a foster family for a longer period of time because they cannot be cared for within their own family. Foster carers can help by offering a child the chance to grow up in a safe and supportive environment, receiving the appropriate care and whenever possible the opportunity to keep in touch with their family.

Parent and child placement

This is where a parent or parents with a young child all reside together in a foster placement. The foster carer supports the parent to develop the skills they need to care for their child. The parent would move on when it is deemed they are ready to care for their child independently.

Supported lodgings

Supported Lodgings Carers provide the next step to independence for young people aged 16 – 21 years who are leaving care. You can find out more about becoming a Supported Lodgings provider on our Supported Lodgings page

a woman reading to a child

Contact for the child with their family

When children and young people are being cared for in a foster family, contact with their parents and siblings, if agreed, is important. Foster carers may be involved in transporting the child to see the parents or wider family, and will support the child to manage contact.

Payment to foster carers

The amount you will earn with us depends on your levels of experience and on the ages and number of children you care for.
All foster carers receive an allowance designed to cover all aspects of the cost of caring for a child. The level of the allowance varies according to the age of the child, up to £246.47 for teenagers who are 16+.  

Foster Carers also receive a fee known as a ‘professional fee’ for each child in their care per week.  The amount received, (Band A - £100, Band B - £125 or Band C - £200) depends on your existing experience, knowledge and skill as a foster carer. The criteria attached to these bands allows carers to progress to the top band C of £200 per week.  

Newly approved foster carers could be on Band’s A, B or C depending on their experience.

Example payments:

A foster carer on Band A, caring for two siblings aged three and four would for example receive £200 per week in professional fees, plus £285.74 per week in foster care allowance. A total of £485.74 per week.

A foster carer on Band C, caring for a four-year-old and an 11-year-old could expect to receive a total of £745.45 per week in professional fees and allowances.

An additional allowance will also be made for each child prior to Christmas and prior to the school summer holidays. As a foster carer you will NOT be eligible to claim Child Benefit for any child that you care for.

There is a different payment scheme for supported lodgings providers who receive a weekly payments of around £250 per week for providing a home for a young person.

Staying Put

The Staying Put weekly fee, for looked after children over the age of 18 who are living with their foster families in a Staying Put arrangement is £260 per week plus a weekly contribution from the young person of £20 per week.

Age related fostering allowances 2020-21

Age related fostering allowances 2020-21
Age Amount
0 - 4 years £142.87
5 - 10 years £162.75
11 - 16 years £202.58
16 years plus £246.47

Professional weekly fees for foster carers

Professional weekly fees for foster carers
Band A Entry level £100 per week per child
Band B Intermediate level £125 per week per child
Band C Advanced level £200 per week per child

If the time is right for you now, get in touch with us to talk about taking the first step on your fostering journey. If you are still undecided, join us for one of our informal fostering information events.

You can download a handy guide to becoming a paid foster carer with us here[pdf].