9221 Fostering TW&FBJan20242

Extra financial support for Lancashire's foster carers

An additional £960,000 is set to be given to foster carers across Lancashire.

The extra financial support for allowance and fees aims to give a bit extra to foster carers who make a real difference to the lives of looked after children.

It also ensures payments to Lancashire's foster carers are competitive compared with those made by other organisations.

Members of the council's Cabinet will discuss the proposed increase at a meeting on Thursday.

The council is keen to place children in care as close as possible to their homes and support networks when appropriate, and to do this need a network of carers.

Helen has been a single foster carer with Lancashire County Council for three years.

She applied after seeing the difference fostering made to a girl in her Brownie pack.

Helen said: "It's been a wonderful experience watching them grow, develop and catch up on many of the normal child experiences they missed out on.

"I am blessed to do something essential plus I have great fun doing it.

"When allowances increase it means there’s more towards holidays and treats.

"I’ve been amazed at the training and development offered by the council.

 "I'm really glad I chose the council to foster with rather than an independent foster agency. The support I have is so good.

"If someone has time to give and a spare room, they should get in touch."

County Councillor Cosima Towneley, cabinet member for Children and Families, said: "We know the work foster carers do is priceless and it makes a huge difference to the lives of the Lancashire children concerned.

"We recognise the financial burden that our foster carers shoulder when opening their homes and lives to the children in our care and it is only right that care and nurture does not go unrewarded.  Their presence makes all the difference to the futures of these children.

"We offer a competitive payment scheme and this uplift in fees show we recognise the unique nature of their skills and vocation."

Anyone can become a foster carer. Your sexuality, gender, home, age, marital status or religion is not a bar to starting a career in fostering. Foster carers can be single, married, divorced or cohabiting, have their own children or no children, own their own home or rent, or have a disability.

Foster carers can be in work or be claiming benefits and the council welcome enquiries from all sections of the community, who have a faith or no faith and can be from a LGBTQ+ background. Carers need to be over 21, but there is no upper limit.

They can work full time, part time, or not at all, can own pets, don't need to have formal experience or qualifications and don't need to drive.

Lancashire County Council offer help with the cost of fostering and support to help fosterers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Potential carers do not have to have specific qualifications in working with children as the council offer a comprehensive training programme, including the Skills to Foster course for all carers.

Find out more at lancashire.gov.uk/fostering or call our friendly team for a chat on 0300 123 6723.