Fostering payments

We offer generous and competitive foster care payments when looking after a child. Depending on the type of foster care, you could get up to £1077.47 per week (based on one parent and child arrangement with an Advanced Level 3 foster carer). That’s equivalent to a £56,000 annual fostering payment.

Fostering payments have two parts:

  • a maintenance payment, which covers living costs
  • a reward payment, which is a fee for the foster carers work

Both payments are paid weekly, per child, directly into your bank account. As an extra benefit, all of our foster carers are entitled to a minimum of 2 weeks paid holiday or a payment in lieu of a break (additional holiday allowances are awarded depending on the type of fostering).

Different types of fostering have different types of payment. The main types of payment are:

  • standard fostering payments
  • disability fostering payments
  • short break fostering payments (or 'respite care')
  • enhanced payments for a range of specialist fostering schemes (such as parent and child, emergency bed, complex and solo, hub family)
  • payment for skills.

Fostering payment amounts

Standard fostering payments

Connected person foster carers (a relative, friend or other person connected with a child) receive the age-related maintenance only, unless the required training is undertaken. All other Kent foster carers are required to undertake the training and therefore receive both reward and maintenance elements.

Age of childMaintenance paymentReward paymentTotal weekly payment
Under 2£157.23£119.12£276.35
2 to 4£161.54£119.12£280.66
5 to 8£178.77£119.12£297.89
9 to 10£178.77£226.26£405.03
11 to 15£203.54£226.26£429.80
16 to 18£239.08£226.26£465.34

Parent and child fostering payments

Foster carers are paid weekly for each parent, and each child in their care.

Standard parent and child payments cover maintenance and reward for a parent and child.

Enhanced parent and child payments cover maintenance and reward for a child and maintenance and twice reward for a parent.

Type of paymentMaintenance paymentReward paymentTotal weekly payment
Standard£396.31£345.38£741.69
Enhanced£396.31£571.64£967.92
Enhanced where parent is in receipt of benefit£396.31£967.95£1364.26

Solo and complex fostering payments

Solo and complex payments are paid to foster carers who are looking after children or young people who cannot be placed alongside other children or who have higher level risk taking behaviours requiring more specialist interventions.

All solo and complex payments relate to the child’s needs and not the foster carer's skills or experience. Payments will be reviewed every 3 months by a panel.

Age of childMaintenance paymentReward paymentTotal weekly payment
Under 2£157.23£238.24£395.47
2 to 4£161.54£238.24£399.78
5 to 8£178.77£238.24£417.01
9 to 10£178.77£452.52£631.29
11 to 15£203.54£452.52£656.06
16 to 18£239.08£452.52£691.60

Disabled Children's fostering payments

The figures for disability foster care are based on the assessed level of the child's needs, agreed at funding panel and are reviewed once a year.

Foster carers of disabled children are also eligible for an additional payment - either standard or enhanced. This is also based on the assessed level of the child's needs and reviewed once a year.

Standard disability payments

Age of childReward paymentMaintenance paymentStandard additional paymentTotal weekly payment
Under 2£119.12£157.23£67.88£344.23
2 to 4£119.12£161.54£67.88£348.54
5 to 8£119.12£178.77£67.88£365.77
9 to 10£226.26£178.77£67.88£472.91
11 to 15£226.26£203.54£67.88£497.68
16 to 18£226.26£239.08£67.88£533.22

Enhanced disability payments

Age of childReward paymentMaintenance paymentEnhanced additional paymentTotal weekly payment
Under 2£119.12£157.23£90.50£366.85
2 to 4£119.12£161.54£90.50£371.16
5 to 8£119.12£178.77£90.50£388.39
9 to 10£226.26£178.77£90.50£495.53
11 to 15£226.26£203.54£90.50£520.30
16 to 18£226.26£239.08£90.50£555.84

Disabled children's short break fostering payments

Short breaks are short term placements, such as evenings or weekends, that allow parents or carers of disabled children to take a break.

Short breaks fostering payments are calculated per night.

The figures for short breaks foster care are based on the assessed level of the child's needs, agreed at funding panel and are reviewed once a year. The reward element is paid at the higher rate and is not dependent on the age of the child.

Short breaks foster carers are also eligible for an additional payment - either standard or enhanced.  This is also based on the assessed level of the child's needs and reviewed once a year.

Standard disability short break payments

Age of childReward paymentMaintenance paymentStandard additional paymentTotal nightly payment
Under 2£32.22£22.46£9.70£64.48
2 to 4£32.22£23.08£9.70£65.10
5 to 10£32.22£25.54£9.70£67.56
11 to 15£32.22£29.08£9.70£71.10
16 to 18£32.22£34.15£9.70£76.17

Enhanced disability short break payments

Age of childReward of paymentMaintenance paymentEnhanced additional paymentTotal nightly payment
Under 2£32.22£22.46£12.93£67.71
2 to 4£32.22£23.08£12.93£68.33
5 to 10£32.22£25.54£12.93£70.79
11 to 15£32.22£29.08£12.93£74.33
16 to 18£32.22£34.15£12.93£79.40

Emergency bed payments

Payment typeNightly paymentWeekly payment
Retainer£35.72£250
Maintenance£34.16£239.08
Reward£32.32£226.26
Total£102.20£715.34
Complex enhanced£12.73£89.15
Total including enhanced£114.93£804.49

Hub family foster carers

Hub family foster carers receive:

  • enhanced reward payments of £221.82 per week
  • enhanced maintenance payments of £234.77 per week
  • 2 paid days off per month (in addition to the standard 2-week holiday)
  • specialist training and support.

Skills payments

In addition to weekly payments, you could also qualify for extra 'Payment for Skills' rewards. The additional payment amount depends on your skill level, which we will assess annually.

You'll receive your extra payment regardless of the needs or age of the child placed with you.

Skill levelNightly payment (short break only)Weekly payment
Level 1No additional paymentNo additional payment
Level 2£3.08£21.92
Level 3£7.69£54.76

Sessional work and day care

Sessional work is paid at £10 per hour.

Day care is paid at £7.50 per hour.

'Refer a friend' payments

You could gain additional reward payments if you refer friends and family members to us as potential foster carers.

Once your recommended foster carer has been approved by our panel, you'll receive a one-off bonus payment of £500.

Email kentfostering@kent.gov.uk for a recommendation form.

Effects on tax and benefits

Tax

As a foster carer, you're treated as self-employed by HMRC. So, your earnings from fostering payments may be eligible for Income Tax and National Insurance contributions.

However, there is a specific tax scheme for foster carers called Qualifying Care Relief, which often results in not having to pay any additional tax.

The Fostering Network offer a helpful guide to tax and national insurance for foster carers.

Benefits

Becoming a foster carer does not affect your eligibility for any benefits paid by, or on behalf of, your local council. However, means-tested national benefits such as Job Seeker's Allowance or Income Support may be affected.

You cannot claim child benefit for foster children, but if caring for disabled foster children you can apply for:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Carers support.

Visit GOV.UK for a fuller explanation of how foster caring affects benefits.