Croydon Council is considering an increase in foster care allowances as the borough faces a shortage of carers.
The amount of money paid to foster families in nearby boroughs has gone up over recent years leaving Croydon with lowest allowances. Foster carers receive £315 per week for children aged 5 to 10 year old in Tower Hamlets. The allowance in Croydon for children of the same age is as low as £250 per week.
The low level of the allowance has not saved the council money because they have had to arrange for children who lived in Croydon to move to other boroughs – and pay the higher fees and arrangement costs. This is also disruptive for children who may have to be moved away from their schools and school friends.
A spokesperson for the council said: “Our aim is to recruit more than fifty new local carers, thus enabling the authority to ensure more local placements.”
The allowance is provided to cover household costs, food, clothes, travel, school dinners and any other things required to look after a child.
The council stated: “We currently have over 800 looked after children in the council’s care, and more than 20 new cases having to be dealt with every month.”
Councillor Tim Pollard, cabinet member for children, young people and learners, said: “We greatly value the work of foster carers and work hard to provide support for a task that can sometimes be challenging, but is always very rewarding.
“I genuinely hope that more people will come forward to carry out this vital role and help our young people to flourish and reach their true potential,” he added.
Talking about foster carers the council hopes to gain, Pollard said: “People we work with come from all walks of life and all sorts of social and ethnic backgrounds. This is just what we are after, because every child we place has different needs. The wider the range of places we have available the more likelihood there is that will find somewhere suitable locally.”
For further information about fostering opportunities in Croydon, call 020 8726 6400.
The illustration above is from the Croydon Foster Carers Association website.