Money Matters and Insurance


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Allowance Rates
  3. Holiday Allowance
  4. Pocket Money
  5. Christmas/Festival Allowances
  6. Birthday Allowance
  7. Travel Expenses
  8. Equipment
  9. Clothing Allowance
  10. Passports and Documents
  11. Tax and Benefits
  12. Claiming Benefits While Fostering
  13. Pensions
  14. Receipts
  15. Insurance


1. Introduction

Once you have completed the preparation training and the fostering induction standards and have a child placed with you, you will receive at least the minimum fostering allowances which can be found on the Kent Website.

If you have any queries about allowances or if you think you have been under or over paid, contact the Children’s Payments Team section on 03000 412666.

We pay our carers fortnightly while they are caring for a foster child. The payment is made up of two elements:

  1. A maintenance element for living costs;
  2. A reward element for the work undertaken.

Payments to you are made 1 week in arrears, and 1 week advanced direct to your bank or building society.


2. Allowance Rates

These allowances include additional payments for annual holiday’s birthdays and Christmas or religious festivals where appropriate.

Click here to view Mainstream Fostering Payments information.

Note: Related placements receive only maintenance element unless the required training is undertaken. Non-related placements are required to undertake the training and therefore receive both reward and maintenance elements.

It is vital that you identify any over payments as soon as possible and alert the children’s payments team by email should this occur, fostercarerpayments-cs@kent.gov.uk.

Payment for Skills

Payment for Skills is our initiative to recognise the skills that our carers have.

You will be assessed and paid an enhanced fee dependent on your assessed skill level. Details are available on our website. The assessment is based on your abilities and not on the needs of the particular child placed with you.

The additional payment for Skills is not paid to the specialist scheme as these schemes have their own payment structure. However carers from the specialist schemes can attain the skills levels by undertaking the required training and meeting of standards and expectations.

There are three Levels within the Skill Banding for Kent’s Foster Carers.

Level 1: This level applies to:

  • New carers;
  • Carers who have not completed induction training;
  • Carers whose attendance at training and support groups and participation in care planning reached only the minimum accepted level.

Level 2: This level applies to:

  • Carers who have completed Core Training;
  • Carers who have completed the Training Development and Support standards Workbook;
  • Carers who have demonstrated additional skills and quality of care;
  • Carers who have obtained Diploma Level 3 Health and Social Care (Children and Young People);
  • Carers who can evidence learning and practice implementation from training and Diploma;
  • Carers who have contributed to the development of the service and/or other carers.

Level 3: This level applies to:

  • Carers who have gained the Btec/Diploma Level 4 Working with Traumatised Children;
  • Carers who have evidenced their learning and practice implementation from training;
  • Carers who have evidenced high level of professional skills;
  • Carers who demonstrate regular attendance at training and support groups;
  • Carers who mentor colleague carers;
  • Carers who are involved in the delivery of training;
  • Carers who contribute to service development.


3. Holiday Allowance

You are entitled to two weeks’ paid holiday per year and respite care may be arranged.

However it is recognised that not all carers take this two week Annual Leave entitlement, preferring not to disrupt the child they have in placement. In this case the Holiday allowance can be paid in lieu of Annual Leave.

An Annual leave/holiday request form should be submitted in a timely manner to your fostering social worker.

KCC recognises that there may be occasions when relief care rather than respite care may be more appropriate for the child or young person.

Rather than place a child with carers who are unknown to them, it may be possible and in the child’s best interests, to place within the Foster Carers’ network.

This will enable the child to be cared for by a trusted adult whom they know well. Ideally this will be another member of the foster carers’ family who will care for the child in the foster-home. It is essential that you provide your fostering social worker with information about any proposed arrangements for relief care well in advance so that the necessary checks and assessments can be undertaken and approvals sought. There are processes in place for the approval of relief carers. Holiday Arrangements should be made in the best interest of the child


4. Pocket Money

Pocket Money should be agreed as part of the Placement Plan and should be in line with your families usual practice.

Each child should be encouraged to have a bank account set up in their name and carers should help the child to make small savings each week/month.


5. Christmas/Festival Allowances

This is included in your weekly allowances.


6. Birthday Allowance

This is included in your weekly allowances.


7. Travel Expenses

The first 10% of all travel specifically related to the child is included in your weekly allowance, All claims made require a travel expenses form to be completed and signed by the Team Manager. This would usually be for trips over and above the day to day family life. Where unusually high travel is expected this need to be agreed as part of the Placement Plan. The current rate is 35p per mile.

As an example please see below:

All travel claims submitted will be deducted by 10% of the age related maintenance for each day of travel (this will be for each child travelling). Therefore if you have completed 200 miles over 15 days and the age related maintenance for the child is £23.24 (assuming the claim is for only one child) the calculation is as follows:

£23.24  = £2.32 x 15 days = £34.80 (to be deducted).

200 miles x 0.35 (mileage rate) = £70 - £34.80 = £35.20 to pay.


8. Equipment

Kent County Council can assist with essential Nursery Equipment when this is required in order to look after a child if this is in addition to other children.

Kent will always supply a new mattress for each baby placed under 1 year.


9. Clothing Allowance

There is provision within the maintenance payment to clothe children and to provide pocket money to those who are in foster care. However, discussions about clothing requirements and expenditure should be held within the Placement Planning Meetings.


10. Passports and Documents

The cost of getting birth certificates (and copies), passports will be met by the child's Social work team.


11. Tax and Benefits

Tax exemption

There’s a fixed tax exemption of up to £10,000 per year (less if for a shorter period) which is shared equally among any foster carers in the same household. This means you don’t have to pay tax on the first £10,000 income you make from fostering.

Tax relief

On top of the £10,000 exemption, you also get tax relief for every week (or part week) that a child is in your care. This means you don’t have to pay tax on some of your earnings over £10,000.

Age of Child Tax Relief
Under 11 £200 per child
Over 11 £250 per child

All payments made to you will be itemised. You should keep this information as a record for income tax purposes. Please see: Foster Carers Relief Information (HMRC).

Read our guide to tax and benefits for foster carers.

As a KCC foster carer, children in your care are eligible for a free Freedom Pass, which means they benefit from free bus travel throughout Kent.


12. Claiming Benefits While Fostering

See relevant information on the GOV.UK website.


13. Pensions

If you foster you may be eligible for National Insurance Credits which count towards your State Pension.


14. Receipts

You should keep a record of how the allowance is being spent on a child/young person. You should keep receipts where possible. The child/young person should sign for money they are given e.g. pocket money and clothing allowance. This helps build a record of what has been spent, which you can show if asked about it at a later date.

If you receive DLA for any child you look after you should ensure that you keep a record of how this is accounted for.


15. Insurance

You must inform your Home, Building and Contents and Car insurance company once you have been approved as a foster carer.

Tell them about the numbers of children and age ranges you expect to take. You should ask the insurance companies for written confirmation that they have included foster children on your policies. A copy of these letters should be given to your Fostering Social Worker.

Insurance for KCC Appointed Foster Carers Property Insurance

Foster Carers/Accommodators are recommended to ensure that their personal Household Insurance policy is adequate to cover any loss or damage in connection with their appointment as a Carer/Accommodator.

Whilst it is true that a level of contingency cover is available from KCC it is not intended to act as a substitute/ alternative source of cover and can only be claimed against if a personal policy fails or proves impossible to obtain.

  • The KCC policy provides cover against loss or damage caused by a Child in Care to the buildings/contents of any private dwelling belonging to a person appointed by KCC as a Foster Carer/Accommodator;
  • The policy is an extension of the KCC Property policy and will only engage where no other policy cover in respect of the loss is in force;
  • Cover is arranged on a ‘Like for Like’ basis and does not allow for Betterment;
  • Any claim made will only be considered in relation to the terms and conditions of the KCC Property policy;
  • The fact that property is lost, damaged or destroyed does not mean compensation will automatically follow and KCC will investigate the circumstances surrounding of any claim reported.

All claims must be made against the Foster Carer/Accommodators’ own Household policy in the first instance. Failure of this policy to engage must be confirmed in writing by the Insurer and a copy passed to Risk Management and Insurance. Where a Foster Carer/Accommodator declares that they do not have policy cover of their own KCC may carry out checks with relevant agencies who hold such details.

Principal exclusions:

Loss due to theft - unless resulting from forcible entry to or exit from the premises - of jewellery, precious metal, watches, furs, contact lenses, portable electronic entertainment equipment, cameras, money and securities of any description.

Destruction or damage to:

  • Motor vehicles belonging to the Foster Carer/Accommodator;
  • Livestock (including pets), crops, trees or:
    • Cash, bank notes, cheques, postal orders, postage or savings;
    • Computer equipment and records stored therein.

Claims Procedures:

All Foster Carer/Accommodator claims must be notified to Risk Management and Insurance by telephone within 14 days of the incident (Tel: 03000 413927). Claims likely to exceed £500 must be notified to the Section by telephone immediately.

Risk Management Kent County Council & Insurance

A Claim Form, will be forwarded for completion and must be returned to Risk Management and Insurance within 28 days of the incident together with confirmation of own Insurance policy position.

Buildings Claims

Emergency repairs to damage of a specific nature where security/safety is compromised can be arranged direct with the repairer on the understanding that the Foster Carer/Accommodator will be responsible for meeting all costs. A repair estimate together with the original receipted invoice should be obtained and forwarded to Risk Management and Insurance for consideration. Where more than one estimate is obtained the cheapest estimate must be taken. For all other repairs two estimates for the works must be obtained and approved by Risk Management and Insurance prior to commencement.

Contents Claims

A complete list of all contents damaged or destroyed must be provided together with original purchase documentation where appropriate and replacement estimates. Sight of Valuation Certificates will be required where appropriate. Disposal/Replacement of any of the damaged items prior to approval from Risk Management and Insurance may result in the claim being refused. A Loss Adjuster may be appointed in certain cases. For any claim to be considered under the policy satisfactory evidence that the damage has been caused by the Child in Care will be required. Claims will be held open for a period of 6 months only.

Personal Accident

KCC has a Personal Accident Benefits policy which extends to cover Foster Carers/Accommodators and their children permanently residing with them, for bodily injury sustained as a consequence of violent or criminal assault by a LAC (or their natural parents or relatives) whether such assault occurs in the carers own home or elsewhere.

Benefits will be payable in the event of death, loss of limbs, eyes, speech or hearing and permanent or temporary total disablement.

Should a Foster Carer/Accommodator become aware of circumstances which might give rise to a claim they should contact Risk Management and Insurance on 03000 413927.

Legal Liability

KCC will provide Foster Carers/Accommodators with cover for sums they become legally liable to pay in respect of accidental injury or damage to a LAC or their property. Such claims may be brought by the child or their natural parents or guardians. KCC will not provide cover for the general liabilities of the Foster Carer/ Accommodator. For example, if a roof tile were to fall onto the child causing injury.

For a claim to succeed it will be necessary for the claimant to prove that the accidental injury or damage caused was as a result of a negligent act, error or omission on the part of the Foster Carer/Accommodator in the course of their approved activities on behalf of KCC.

KCC cannot provide insurance cover for any aspect of a criminal investigation/prosecution against the Foster Carer/Accommodator.

Where a LAC causes accidental damage to third party property any claim brought under civil law and made against the Foster Carer/Accommodator may be considered under the Public Liability policy.

Should a Foster Carer/Accommodator become aware of circumstances which might give rise to a claim, irrespective of when the incident in question occurred, they must immediately contact Risk Management and Insurance on 01622 694554 and follow the course of action they are instructed to take.

If a Foster Carer/Accommodator is injured by a LAC and believes this to be due to negligence on the part of KCC they may wish to seek their own independent advice at their own expense. The fact that an injury may have been sustained does not automatically suggest that KCC can be held to blame.

Excesses

Should a Foster Carer/Accommodator make a claim against a personal policy they will have to meet any excess that might be payable.

Personal Insurance Cover

A Foster Carer/Accommodator is at liberty to purchase any other insurances at their own expense to obtain improved cover or benefits. KCC will not reimburse the cost of additional insurance cover purchased.

KCC cannot advise on the wording, adequacy or appropriateness of any personal insurances that may be purchased by a Foster Carer/ Accommodator.

Risk Management & Insurance
Sessions House
County Hall, Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1XQ