On Monday 15 July 2019, Nottinghamshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee approved plans to increase payment rates for council-employed foster carers by at least 27% from August 2019.
The pay rise forms part of Nottinghamshire County Council’s attraction and retention strategy, which aims to encourage more local individuals to provide foster care, as well as recognise those that are already dong so. The council further hopes that this approach will decrease its dependence on independent foster agencies.
Councillor Philip Owen, chairman at the Children and Young People’s Committee, said: “The stark reality is that when children are placed with external, independent providers, this carries a significantly higher average cost for the council. The recruitment and growth of council foster carers is key to achieving both the best quality services for Nottinghamshire’s vulnerable children and best value for money for the authority.”
In addition to the pay increase, Nottinghamshire County Council plans to introduce a discount card scheme for its foster carers, to be used at local amenities. It also wishes to offer free access to a broad range of personal training courses, provided by Inspire, to help foster carers manage day-to-day challenges.
As at 31 March 2019, there are 875 children in foster care in Nottinghamshire; 658 are placed with council-paid foster carers and 225 are looked after by external foster carers.
Owen added: “Those people that devote their time and their lives to being foster carers are not primarily motivated by the financial aspects, but it is important that we recognise the important job they do and reward them appropriately.
“We hope that increased payments and an improved overall package will encourage new foster carers and help retain existing carers. This will strengthen the council’s fostering service for the good of Nottinghamshire children and young people and reduce the council’s reliance on independent foster agencies.”