How much do foster parents get paid in the UK?
How much you are paid as a foster parent depends on a number of factors, including:
- Where you live
- The age and number of children in your care
- The type of child in your care – for example, whether they have complex needs
- Your fostering experience
- The local authority or independent fostering agency you choose to foster with
At Fosterplus, we offer a generous fostering allowance and benefits package to our foster parents to cover the cost of caring for children and reward them with a professional fee for their hard work and dedication.
Once you’re approved and have a child placed with you, you’ll receive a fostering allowance that’s between £19,000 and £26,000 per child, per year. The fostering allowance is generally tax-free and won’t affect any benefits you receive.
Foster care pay examples
Jodie lives in England and has been fostering for more than 1 year. She cares for a young boy, aged seven, and receives £378.71 per week.
James and Duncan live in Scotland and care for a twelve-year-old with complex needs. They receive £508.06 per week.
Raifa is an experienced foster parent who lives in England and cares for 2 brothers, aged 9 and 14. She receives £808.79 per week.
How does foster care pay work?
We want you to feel financially secure when fostering with us, so your time and energy is focused on supporting the children in your care. We, therefore, pay a generous weekly payment that’s split into two parts:
The first part of the fostering allowance is to cover the cost of the child in your care, paying for things like food, clothing, personal hygiene, phone bills, activities and hobbies, pocket money and more.
A professional fee
The second part is a professional fee that rewards you for your hard work and dedication in your role as a foster parent whilst you have a child in placement. Foster parents are a vital support for children in care and it’s important that your work is recognised as a career and you’re remunerated accordingly, so you can continue making an extraordinary difference to children.
Great rewards and benefits for foster parents
Tax, National Insurance and Benefits
If you're caring for one child and have no other income, your fostering allowance is generally completely tax-free due to specialist tax rules granted by HMRC.Find out more
As income from fostering is generally tax-free, you shouldn't need to pay National Insurance. You may wish to make voluntary contributions to secure state benefits.Find out more
Private foster agency vs
local authority allowance
Independent fostering agencies generally offer higher fostering allowances than local authorities. This is because it tends to be older children with slightly more complex needs who are placed with specialist fostering agencies – in general, we care for children aged 7 and over.
The government set out National Minimum Allowances guidelines for fostering, which ranges from £132 - £231 per week, depending on where you’re based and the age of the child. Scotland does not currently have these minimum fostering allowance guidelines. We pay a much higher rate than these guidelines, between £310 and £460 per week, depending on where you live, your experience and the child in your care.
Use our fostering allowance calculator to find out how much you could receive below.
What do fostering payments cover?
We want children to really feel part of your family and engage in ‘normal’ family activities that help to support their emotional, social and educational development.
This allowance is designed to cover the cost of caring for a child as well as these activities while rewarding you with a professional fee for providing outstanding care. The fostering payments should cover:
- Food and drink
- Personal hygiene
- Utilities (including phone, electricity and water bills)
- Hobbies and activities
- Special celebrations (including religious festivals and birthdays)
- Pocket money
- Professional fee
Can I continue to work while receiving a foster care allowance?
We have many foster parents who continue to work while fostering, however, it totally depends on your individual situation and whether you can meet the needs of a child in your care.
If you’re concerned about whether you’d be able to continue working, we recommend speaking to one of our friendly advisors who will give you advice that’s tailored to your situation.
Some of the questions they might ask include:
- Are you applying to foster alone or with a partner?
- How many hours do you work and when?
- Will you be available outsides of school hours and during school holidays?
- Is your employer flexible and ‘fostering friendly’?
- Do you have close friends and family who would be able to help in an emergency?
Find out more about working and fostering below.
Foster care pay summary
We know there’s a lot of information to take in, so here’s a summary of some of the most important things to remember about foster parent pay…
- You’ll receive a weekly fostering allowance that’s around £19,000 - £26,000 per year, for each child in your care
- You’ll only receive your foster care payments when a child is placed with you
- The fostering allowance is generally tax-free – learn more about fostering and taxes here
- Foster parents are self-employed and will need to complete a tax-return each year
- Foster care payments shouldn’t affect your state benefits – learn more about fostering and benefits here
- Generally, foster parents don’t need to pay National Insurance, however, you may decide to make voluntary contributions – learn more about fostering and National Insurance here
Can't find what you're looking for?
One of our team is available to talk to you over the phone to answer any of your fostering queries.
You can get in touch by filling out our online enquiry form with any queries that you may have.
Your local team
Find contact details for your local office team. We’re always happy for you to pop-in and chat.