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Fostering payments & allowances

Foster carers are self-employed and receive weekly payments, per child in placement, made up of an age-related allowance (for direct costs associated with looking after the child) and a professional carers fee. The amount paid depends on carer experience, the number of children looked after, their age and the complexity of their support needs.

Fostering households are exempt from paying tax on the first £18,140 earned from fostering and carers qualify for tax relief after this threshold for every week (or part week) a child is living with them, more information about this is available at [external link]

Foster carers are not entitled to claim Child Benefit Allowance for children they are looking after.

Age related allowance

Foster carers receive a weekly allowance for each child living with them, this is designed to cover the direct cost of caring for a child and the amount varies dependent on the age of the child. Our current rates are shown below. These are reviewed annually alongside the Governments recommended National Minimum Rates and were last reviewed in March 2024.

Age range Weekly allowance
0 - 2 years £175.00
3 - 4 years £180.00
5 - 10 years £197.00
11 - 15 years £223.57
16 - 17 years £269.84

A holiday payment made up of two weeks age related allowance is paid to carers with children in placement during the school summer holidays and a festival payment of the same in December to contribute to the additional costs associated with these times of the year.

Professional fees

Foster Carers receive a weekly ‘professional’ fee for each child in their care, the amount paid depends on the experience, knowledge, and skills of the carer and on the needs of the children being looked after.

Type Description Payment
Approved Carer

New foster carers

£175pw for the first child; £100pw for subsequent children
Experienced Carer

Experienced carers who have successfully completed the Training and Development Standards and can care for children with diverse needs.

£275pw for the first child; £200pw for subsequent children
Complex Needs

Paid to experienced carers when caring for children with more complex needs, requiring a very specific form of care.

£375pw for the first child; £300pw for subsequent children
Discretionary Payment Paid for looking after exceptionally challenging to place young people where the only alternative is a bespoke high-cost residential placement. Additional £100pw

Newly approved foster carers with previous fostering experience or transferrable skills will be considered for the Experienced Carer fee and separate arrangements are in place for carers transferring from another agency with a child in placement to ensure they are not financially disadvantaged.

Other payments and benefits

In addition to the age-related allowance and professional fee, foster carers are paid:

  • A contribution of £1500 towards council tax as an annual lump sum payment in April if they have had a child or children living with them for at least a total of 150 days over the previous year.
  • An appreciation payment of £250 every five years of fostering for us.
  • Lump sum payments for referring a friend to join us as a foster carer; £250 when they are approved as a foster carer and £250 when they take their first placement.
  • Fourteen days paid respite or payment in lieu paid annually in January.


  • £30 on call allowance for emergency placements at the weekend.
  • Mileage rates of 45p per mile for travel costs incurred in connection with a child living with you or your role as a foster carer for Darlington for all qualifying journeys using your own vehicle.

Example payments

An Approved Foster Carer, caring for two siblings (aged three and four) who have been in placement for 25 weeks between November and March with no respite care taken, would be paid:

  • Age related allowance - £9000.00
  • Approved Carer Professional fee - £6875.00
  • Council Tax contribution - £1500.00
  • Payment in lieu of respite - £507.98
  • Festival payment - £676.16
  • Total - £18,559.14

There’s no tax to pay on these earnings; under current rules the first £18,140 is exempt, then there is £375.00 per week tax relief per week for each child over the exempt threshold.

An Experienced Carer reaching their 10th year fostering for Darlington who is has been caring for one child (aged eleven) with complex support needs all year with no respite break taken could expect to receive:

  • Age related allowance - £11,625.64
  • Complex Needs fee - £19,500.00
  • Council Tax contribution - £1500.00
  • Payment in lieu of respite - £1197.14
  • Festival and Holiday payment - £894.28
  • Appreciation payment - £250.00
  • Total - £34,967.06

There’s no tax to pay on these earnings; under current rules the first £18,140 is exempt, over which tax relief is applied at £450 per week for an eleven-year-old child.

Staying put

Young people cease to be looked after legally at 18 years old, but should have the opportunity, wherever possible, to stay living with their carer in a “staying put arrangement” for up to 3 years longer whilst they develop skills for independent living. Where this is agreed, the carer is paid a Staying Put payment of £260 per week and the young person contributes a further £20 per week towards their living costs.

Supported lodgings

Some young people who don’t ‘stay put’ with their foster carer or who are leaving care from a residential home may live with a Supported Lodgings provider who support them with the next step towards independent living.

Supported Lodgings providers receive a weekly payment of £250 plus a contribution from the young person of £20 per week.

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