Types of foster care and payments

What is foster care?

The aim of Darlington Borough Council Children’s Service is to try and keep families together. However, there are times when this may not be possible. Foster Care is a service for children and young people who are unable to live with their own families.

Foster carers

Foster carers are people approved by the local authority fostering service to care for looked after children  up to the age of 18years  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

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.

a woman reading to a child

Who can be a foster carer?

There is no such thing as a typical foster carer, as everyone has their own experiences and unique skills. All foster carers share a belief in the importance of children and young people receiving a very good standard of care in a safe and supportive home environment.

Foster carers can be:

  • Single
  • Married
  • Male
  • Female
  • With a partner
  • Parents
  • Have no children
  • Unemployed
  • Tenant
  • Homeowner
  • Any ethnic background
  • Have a disability
  • Of an sexual orientation
  • Any religious belief
  • With a varied amount of experience in caring for children

Children in foster care, are ‘Looked after’ children and will be visited and reviewed by social workers on a regular basis. Any children placed with a family will have detailed Care Plans, any supported services needed to meet the child’s needs will be included in the plan.

Foster carers are part of the team supporting the child /young person to ensure that all of their needs are met. Foster carers have their own supervising social worker who provides regular supervision and support to ensure that the foster carer is providing a high standard of care, and developing their skills to enable them to respond to the needs of the 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

All foster carers receive an age–related fostering allowance for each child in their care. This is to enable the foster carer to provide everything that the child needs. Mainstream foster carers also receive a weekly professional fee for each child in their care. This payment is based upon the foster carers band, and recognises the skill and commitment of the foster carer.

Staying Put

Staying Put weekly fee with effect from 1st August 2020 - £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