Changes to payments made to Leicestershire County Council’s in-house carers came into force this month and are part of plans to boost recruitment and simplify the way carers can progress.
The council desperately needs to recruit new carers to cope with an increase in the number of children in its care and help it reduce the amount it spends on agency foster carers.
It is hoped the changes will also provide a boost to its existing carers who work hard to provide loving homes to children around the county.
We know foster carers’ primary motivation is to support children and young people, but we also recognise that fostering needs to be financially viable for people.
“We’ve listened to our carers’ comments through a six week consultation and had numerous discussions to ensure these changes reflect their thoughts.
“Our carers do a fantastic job and we recognise their skills and knowledge which is why, following this consultation, we have developed our specialist schemes and increased the support and training available to them to enable our more challenging / high needs placements to be placed in house.
“The truth is, however, that we need to recruit more foster carers to look after our children and young people
“We hope that this increase in fee payment will go some way to recognising the carers we have and be another factor that will encourage more people to consider fostering with us.Person:Councillor Ivan Ould, cabinet member for children and families
There are currently more than 550 of children in care in Leicestershire* and this is forecast to increase to more than 750 by March 2022. It costs an additional £12,500 per child per annum when the council needs to use a fostering agency.
The increase in fees is costing the council more than £160,000. However, it’s part of wider plans to save £3m by recruiting more of its own foster carers, ensuring that Leicestershire’s children in care can remain in the county.
Prospective foster carers can find out more or call 0116 305 0505 for more information and an informal chat with the council’s fostering recruitment team.
Notes: *figures correct (553) as of March 2018.