no grants to get essential equipment?

(9 Posts)
HarkTheHattifattnerSing Sun 16-Dec-12 19:56:08

is this right? We are 3/4 of the way through the assessment process, been to all the initial training, had multiple sw visits, she is in process of writing our report for Feb panel.

We have been told that there is no assistance for getting set up. As we are approved for 0-11, with preference for U5, its feasible that we will have babies. In which case, we will need the essentials for a young baby - cot, carseat, pram, baby monitor, highchair. To buy new will cost a fortune, to buy 2nd hand will cost around £500 if the prices on gumtree are normal.

I cannot believe that we will need to fork out for all this up front. Their reasoning is that the allowance for the child will cover this - but that will be after the fact ie we will need to do the initial outlay, with no guarantee that we will even need baby stuff (we may end up with toddlers). As new qualified, we get no payment for the care side, so the first months money coming in will just be for the equipment.

The social workers on the course were quite blasé about it ("oh you can use gumtree or freecycle..."), but while we may be able to get some freebies, most people are looking to sell their equipment, not give it away. ANd the sale prices seem quite high.

I just wanted to establish if this is normal practice??

Fosterangel Sun 16-Dec-12 21:24:39

Congratulations on the end being in sight! I expect you are getting quite excited about your first placement.

We re-decorated two bedrooms and put in new carpets, new beds, and all furniture, including TV's which the teenager's SW asked us to supply for each child's bedroom. We did ask our SSW if we could have some cash towards the cost (as all was bought brand new) but she said no as the furniture etc remains ours and will stay at our home rather than move with the child.

I know that some of our LA newborn foster carers buy their own prams and cots etc off Gumtree, E-bay and Freeads. They also do swaps of equipment among themselves. I would always prefer to use equipment supplied by the LA for very small children as the safety standards are so important and I would want the reassurance that what I use meets with their approval. But then I do teens and I am a bit "anal"!

Check out your LA's handbook too as it may say what their policy is on set-up costs or equipment as I am sure each LA is different. One thing I think is important is that you must ask BEFORE you agree to take a placement if there is ANYTHING you want or need. I am not saying you will get it but you stand a better chance before you say yes!

scarlet5tyger Mon 17-Dec-12 17:48:29

Hi, I'm with a LA and there is NO provision for equipment. To add insult to injury you can (although I haven't been yet) be asked to send all of your equipment with a child if they are placed for adoption or kinship care.

I was lucky to have some very good friends when I started out who donated much of the larger items (eg cot bed, high chair, pram) and I did buy some things off eBay but as time has gone on I've replaced it all with new. Unlike fosterangel I find the very rare times my LA has provided equipment it's been such poor quality that I've refused to put a child in it.

My local contact centre lends out some basic equipment though, and I have borrowed from other carers for short placements. Also, NCT nearly new sales are excellent for toys and books, and even prams.

(Just wanted to add this is only my LA. A neighbouring borough gives their foster carers allowances for any equipment needed, no questions asked. What was that in the news about all foster carers being treated equal???)

Fosterangel Mon 17-Dec-12 19:55:12

Hi Scarlet. Our LA gives us a big fat nothing towards set up costs or equipment (sorry if my post was a bit misleading). The comment about my preference for using LA supplied and approved equipment was just me wishing out loud on behalf of our newborn foster carers who do a stirling job on very little sleep and still have to supply their own equipment.

Can't believe you are asked to give away your equipment when your lo's move on. That is just an ask too far imho!

Gymbob Sat 29-Dec-12 19:50:15

My LA pay for initial equipment needed. We furnished a bedroom with bunk beds, wardrobe and chest of drawers and put the receipt in for it all. We would keep it too should we give up fostering.

They also pay for any other equipment needed like horse riding and climbing gear, in fact anything that is outside the day to day running stuff. They also pay for transport to and from any extra curricular activities.

They have also just paid for a Spanish exchange trip and school residential next year. I do realise we are very lucky, and wouldn't be surprised if austerity measures force an end to it all.

Panadbois Sun 30-Dec-12 17:48:15

Hi, my LA have paid for highchair, car seats, pram and safety gates for us too. If they don't have any in their stores, we get to buy new and they reimburse us.
Couldn't do it otherwise.

DecAndAnt Mon 31-Dec-12 18:57:56

My LA paid for a bed and wardrobes.

Fosterangel Mon 31-Dec-12 22:56:59

There seems to be such a difference between LA's.

If I had to set up our two fostering bedrooms from scratch again I would buy second hand to start up with and replace with new as and when. We got carried away with wanting to make the fostering bedrooms as lovely as we could but in hindsight it is the people who make a home not the furniture!

bonnieslilsister Fri 04-Jan-13 15:10:30

We are the same as panadbois thank goodness smile

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