Kinship "Foster" Carers
 A place for those who care
 

FINANCE

Most of our members have questions about finances and any extra support that they can get.
This page is by no means a definitive answer to everyone's questions but we hope it will point you in the right direction.


Looked After Child
If your child is "LAC" and you are fostering them, you should be paid the same rate as a non-related foster carer (for the maintenance element).
You are not entitled to the "wage" element that non-related foster carers get.
This said, there are various Local Authorities looking into this as the argument is if a Kinship Foster Carer goes through the same checks, training and has the same role as a non-related carer, why shouldn't they be entitled to both elements?  Some LAs are now looking into enhancing payments dependent upon the levels of training a Kinship Carer has undertaken.  This is a new idea and very much a work in progress, so very early days but we will keep you posted.
If your child is LAC, you will not have parental responsibility and therefore will not be entitled to Child Benefit and Tax Credits for that child.
 
 
Child Arrangements Order (previously known as a Residence Order)
This gives you joint Parental Responsibility for the child in your care.
You are able to claim for Child Benefit and Tax credits.
You MAY be entitled to an Allowance but this is very much dependent on the involvement of Social Services in your particular case and it may be at their discretion.
 
 
Special Guardianship Order
Part of the assessment for this Order involves an assessment on the family's needs; financial and otherwise.
It is means tested and cannot duplicate any other benefits you can access with this Order (ie, Tax Credits and Child Benefit).
It is ALWAYS a good idea to request your Local Authority to provide a breakdown of how they achieve the final figure they are paying you (mistakes do happen!)
You will need to provide proof of your earnings, outgoings and any benefits you have coming into the home.
When going through the process of an SGO it is VERY important to check through the support package; will it be means tested?, will it be paid up to the age of 18?, is there any grey areas you need clarification on?
Make sure you ASK and get the answer in writing BEFORE the SGO is finalised.
You need to be happy and feel secure that you can financially manage bringing up this child into adulthood.
Don't risk a placement breaking down because of financial hardships.
 
Section 17 Payments
These are one-off, very often discretionary, payments that Local Authorities can make in order to help with a child.
Examples of this may be travel expenses, start up costs for having a child come to live with you, etc.
Funding is there for this but you do have to ASK and push as you may not be offered it!
 
 
 
As a result of recent changes in terminology within the Children's and Families Act 2014, we have updated/amended the grid that Kerri Moorby previously compiled for our use on this website.  The grid regards the 3 main statuses of a child and what the legal and financial implications are for each status.
 
 

 

Children on Care Orders (CO)

 

Children being cared for under a Child Arrangements (previously Residence) Order (CAO)

Children being cared for under a Special Guardianship Order (SGO)

Who has PR?

The Local Authority (LA), mother, father or anyone else who has acquired Parental Responsibility (PR) through the Courts.  The PR may be shared with the LA.

Carers who have gained a CAO through the Courts. The Order may have been done with the agreement of the parents.  This may be shared with the mother, father and/or anyone else who may have PR.

Carers with an SGO have almost total PR. The only exceptions where birth parents would need to be consulted would be major decisions such as adoption, change of religion and/or moving abroad for more than 3 months.

Who can make decision on behalf of the child

Carers can make day to day decisions. However, important decisions such as taking a child abroad must be done in conjunction with the LA.  A carer would need an Order to allow permission for medical treatment, etc.

Carers with a CAO can make decisions on behalf of the child.  As there may be shared PR with this Order, the other party would have to be consulted on major decisions such as medical treatment, religion, etc.

Carers with an SGO can make all decisions without consulting other parties apart from major decisions such as adoption, change of religion or moving abroad for more than 3 months.

Is the child classed as a Looked After Child

 

Yes

No

No

Are Statutory visits required – these are visits made by a Social Worker.

Yes

No as the child is no longer considered to be, or hasn't been, a Looked After Child (LAC).

No as the child is no longer considered to be, or hasn't been, an LAC.

Can the child be removed from me?

 

 

Yes as you may be considered to be the same as a normal foster carer by Social Services.

Not unless the LA gains an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) or Care Order (CO) or the CAO is revoked

Not unless the SGO is revoked or there is an EPO or CO on the child by the LA.

Can I take the child out of the UK? 

 

 

Only with the consent of all parties who have PR and only up to one month unless you have the permission of the Court.

Yes, for up to one month otherwise consent from all parties who share PR would have to be obtained or granted leave by the Court.

Yes, for up to 3 months otherwise consent from all parties who share PR would have to be obtained or granted leave by the Court.

  

Can carers appoint a guardian?

PR is usually shared with parents and they can appoint a guardian.  Advice would need to be taken as to when this could take place.

A carer with a CAO has no legal right to appoint a guardian as PR is usually shared.  The parents (if they share PR) are allowed to appoint a guardian.  Advice would need to be taken as to when this could take place.

Carers with an SGO are entitled to appoint a guardian as they have almost total PR. Advice would need to be taken.

  
Can I claim Child Benefit?
No.  A carer should be paid an allowance which reflects this and includes the amount.
Yes, you are entitled to claim Child Benefit.  A claim should be made because, without doing so, Tax Credits cannot be accessed.  The amount of Child Benefit may be deducted from any allowance received from the LA.
Yes, you can claim Child Benefit if you have an SGO.  Tell them you have it when you apply.  You may be asked for SGO paperwork.  Please note that if the birth parents were claiming Child Benefit prior to you obtaining the SGO, they will be entitled to claim it for 8 weeks prior to you obtaining it.
Can I claim Child Tax Credit?
No
Yes
Yes
Can I claim Working Tax Credit?
Yes, as an allowance received is classed as income subject to HMRC rules.  Visit 
https://www.gov.uk/foster-carers/help-with-the-cost-of-fostering
 
Yes
Yes
Can I claim Disability Living Allowance on behalf of the child?
Applications for DLA on behalf of the foster child should be done so within the care plan and with the knowledge of the Social Worker and parents.
Yes
Yes
Is the allowance that I receive from the LA counted as income when claiming Child or Working Tax Credits or benefits?
The allowance is classed as income.  Whilst there are certain tax exemptions, it would still need to be declared.
No.  This was clarified by George Osborne in his 2010 Budget as the allowance is for the maintenance of the child.
No.  This was clarified by George Osborne in his 2010 Budget as the allowance is for the maintenance of the child.
Is DLA for the child counted as income when claiming Child or Working Tax Credits or benefits?
No (if you are entitled to claim) as it is for the benefit of the child.
No.  However it is advisable to mention it when you are claiming as it increases the amount you are entitled to receive.
No.  However it is advisable to mention it when you are claiming as it increases the amount you are entitled to receive.
Is my Housing/Council Tax affected by receiving an allowance?
Yes as the allowance is counted as income.
No.  This was clarified by George Osborne in his 2010 Budget as the allowance is for the maintenance of the child.
No.  This was clarified by George Osborne in his 2010 Budget as the allowance is for the maintenance of the child.
What happens to the Child Trust Fund?
Control would remain with the LA or parents as the child may only be in your care for a short period of time.
As holder of a CAO you can apply to have it changed and also where it is placed but it still remains the child's investment.
As holder of an SGO, you can apply to have it changed and also where it is placed but it still remains the child's investment.
Is the child entitled to LAC status for school admissions?
Yes and they will still be considered Looked After (LAC) whilst in your care.
Yes, if they were considered Looked After before coming to you.
Yes, if they were considered Looked After before coming to you.
Can the school claim Pupil Premium from the Government?
Yes, the child is considered an LAC.
Yes, if the child in your care was considered as an LAC before coming to you.  This may already be highlighted if the child in your care receives free school meals however, if you have to pay for school meals, you will have to highlight the status of your child so that the school can submit a claim.
Yes, if the child in your care was considered as an LAC before coming to you.  This may already be highlighted if the child in your care receives free school meals however, if you have to pay for school meals, you will have to highlight the status of your child so that the school can submit a claim.
Is the child in my care entitled to free school meals?
Foster children will not usually receive free school meals as this is included in the allowance.
Free school meals are based on income.  However, if the birth parents are on benefits/income support and you have their permission, you can claim free school meals as it is based on the income of the parents.
Free school meals are based on income. However, if the birth parents are on benefits/income support and you have their permission, you can claim free school meals as it is based on the income of the parents.
Legally, am I financially responsible for the child in my care?
No, as the parents are still financially responsible for the child.
No, although through the term of the CAO, your finances will be taken into account whilst claiming means-tested allowances.
No, although through the term of the SGO, your finances will be taken into account whilst claiming means-tested allowances.
Are regular Looked After medicals required for the child in my care?
Yes, as they are still considered an LAC.
No, as they are no longer considered an LAC.
No, as they are no longer considered an LAC.
Are regular Looked After Reviews required for the child in my care?
Yes, as these are a Statutory Requirement.
No, as they are no longer considered an LAC.
No, as they are no longer considered an LAC.
Are regular Personal Educational Plans required for the child in my care?
Yes and if there is a change in placement, there should be a review within 10 days.
No, as they are no longer considered an LAC.
No, as they are no longer considered an LAC.

 

 
 
STANDARDISED MEANS TEST MODEL FOR ADOPTION AND SPECIAL GUARDIANSHIP FINANCIAL SUPPORT
 
 
MEANS TEST SPREADSHEET (to be used in conjunction with above)