Money, money, money

(61 Posts)
jessie26 Tue 03-Sep-13 15:52:20

Hello, my first post on here.

I have been fostering for many years and have at present two LOs with me, while two of their siblings are in another foster home. I am a LA carer, while their siblings have been placed with an independent agency. From what Nananina and others say on here, this will be costing the LA a fortune! We however are on the basic of basics rates!

It does annoy me somewhat that the other foster carers who are doing the same job with the same family get three times the amount I do, but hey ho nothing much I can do. However, what is REALLY REALLY annoying me is the extra money our LA seems to throw at the other carers in extras where nothing is given to us. For instance the children all arrived with no clothes, no toys, nothing but what they were standing up in (and they had to be thrown). The agency foster carers got £500 for clothes and essentials. We got £50 and were told everything else had to come out of the weekly allowance. We had to buy a mattress for the second child - and although we were told we could claim it back, it never has been (over six months now and as the receipt has long been lost so have no 'proof'). When meeting with the agency carers we heard how they were given new beds, bedding and some furniture. We have to transport the children to school and contact (meaning we have the extra expense of asking someone looking after our own children) while their siblings are transported by taxi paid by the LA. The last straw is that the other siblings are provided with food during contact but we are told we have to send a packed tea with ours (it's after school). Both families have been on holidays booked before the children arrived and both went into respite. We lost our allowance for that fortnight, the agency carers still got theirs.

It really seems to me that as the other placement is so expensive for the LA, they are trying to cut out costs to us to save every penny.

The contact between the children is frequent, and of course they talk. While ours get £5 a week pocket money, the others get £10 and a £20 clothing allowance - the other carers admit they have more money than they could possibly spend on them, while we have to count the pennies and shop in Lidl.

Yes, I have complained to our SSW and the team leader of the Fast Team, but they plead poverty (and I know this may be true), but meanwhile money continues to be thrown at the agency carers. When we have attended reviews and meetings, it almost seems as if the agency carers needs comes first, and we are second class citizens - eg the contact centre is much closer to them. Worst still it means one pair of the siblings have so much more than the others. How can that be fair?

Hope I do not come across as jealous and money grabbing, but it is so unfair. I am so, so close to giving it all up!

jessie26 Wed 25-Sep-13 03:30:03

Hi Inthechelseahotel,

Support? Sorry, what's that? LOL

I would happily consider moving LA but for two things.

1. We have a permanent placement and not sure what would happen regarding that?

and

2. If we needed to be re-assessed, not sure how we would manage financially in the interim, especially as our savings have nearly been used up in this placement.

But I will check out other LAs. Thanks for the suggestion.

Inthechelseahotel Wed 25-Sep-13 21:38:15

Speak to fostering network Jessie (that is in Scotland, it might be different where you are). They will be able to advise you about switching agencies whilst you have a child in situ. Can you say which LA it is?

jessie26 Thu 26-Sep-13 02:05:56

Inthechelseahotel, thanks again. I am in England but would rather not say what LA - hope you understand why.
I today did some investigating about our permanent child, but it seems the LA would definitely move them if we switched agencies. This child is as dear to us as our own children, and close to us all - I could never, ever do anything to risk losing them. The only way might be to get a SGO (which has already been suggested) but to put it bluntly we could not manage without their fostering allowance.
I have not contacted fostering network though, so I will. Thanks for the suggestion.

fasparent Sun 06-Oct-13 00:42:26

Hi Nana Nina just a thought do you think it could be an good idea of Starting a E online Parliamentary Petition for a Even playing field for all UK. LA. Foster Carer's . Just a thought could post and Google it nation wide

Joanna522 Thu 19-Dec-13 12:59:26

My partner and I just got accepted for fostering, therefore I don't have own experience yet, however we know a couple who has been with the same IFA for a while.
We went with our IFA and not LA for 3 reasons:
- They make a lot of effort to match children well with carers, they make sure the characters and abilities are matched,
- They are ready to help 24/7 365 days a year, and they DO answer the phone.
- I must admit money is important, I am giving up my job because I was asked to be available 24/7 without restrictions, and to be able to carry on paying all bills and mortgage, etc, we need the level of money the IFA provides, otherwise we would not be able to consider fostering.

I agree that there should be no need for IFAs and that fostering is very much under-paid, however from what I was told by several FCs and SSW is that LAs usually forward placements to IFAs if they don't have enough FCs who are happy to take on the placements, very often older children, especially teenagers, sibling groups and harder cases. It's very rare to get a baby or a young child with IFA, which many times is the age group that some carers are restricted to (family or preference/skills).

jessie26 Sat 28-Dec-13 20:54:59

Update:

Just thought I would update my situation.

A month ago we asked for the siblings we were fostering to be removed.

Behaviour had dramatically deteriorated (mainly due to manipulation during contact sessions with their parents) and this manifested itself, in the eldest, by destroying many things in our home. We asked our LA for support, and if there was anything they could do to help towards replacing anything that had been destroyed (mainly our other children's possessions - televisions, stereo system, laptop) but they refused. When we calculated how much we had lost in financial terms it totalled over £2000. If they could have helped we would have continued with the placement - we could understand the dreadful situation the children were in and in many ways were making great progress with them. But it was not fair to our other children that their own possessions were being destroyed and how every week we seemed to have less money for the rest of us to survive on.

So their refusal meant we too refused to continue with the placement. There were (perhaps understandably) no LA carers who were experienced enough to be able to cope with this complex case, and the few that were possible refused. So, like their two siblings, they were put with separate IFA carers, and of course this must be costing the LA fortunes. They are also putting much (expensive) support and extra financial incentives, regular paid respite and so on, taxis to school and contact sessions to hopefully lessen the stress on their new carers. We were given none of this and always had to transport the children ourselves.

We have now to try and repair and replace the damage the children did to our home, and while doing that will decide what the future holds for us as foster carers.

Roshbegosh Sun 29-Dec-13 15:44:18

This is an insane situation, no logic at all. Everyone knows how desperately short of carers we are yet you are left doubting whether you can go on because of the treatment you had by the LA.

I really hope you can switch to an IFA and continue to offer care to these children that need it. I am just baffled hearing of your experience though.

fostermonkey Thu 02-Jan-14 07:48:37

Hello. I'm new to the boards but not new to fostering. Glad I found this site, and am currently reading through previous posts with great interest.

I'd just like to say that I foster for an LA and get paid a 'decent' wage now but didn't when I first started. I had to work my way up through competence levels and attend lots of training. I started at £100 and after 2 years was on £350 (per child). This I feel is about right, although if you work this out per hour it's a pittance. When a placement starts we are asked if we require any equipment and it is paid for. We have quite a healthy initial clothing allowance but most rarely get it.

There are lots of LAs out there and from what I have read/researched the pay varies greatly. I think the pay scales are available via a few websites (whatdotheyknow or LAs site). I'd shop around a little bit - maybe move LA if your LA doesn't support you financially.

It's a shame we don't get paid a super wage as the more we get paid the more we can chuck at the kids. Also, a few LAs will offer you the lowest wage when you start, but if you say you can't exist on that pay they will um and ah but up you a level.

sweetmelissa Fri 03-Jan-14 21:06:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sweetmelissa Fri 03-Jan-14 21:12:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jessie26 Fri 03-Jan-14 23:44:06

Roshbegosh - thanks for the support. It is insane, isn't it? If someone else was telling the story I'm not sure I'd believe it!!
As far as an IFA goes, that MAY be possible, but the LA won't then keep our permanent FC with us....and that's a deal breaker.

Foster Monkey - genuinely pleased some LA are more reasonable, though have to say for me £350 is a super wage LOL!
Our LA now has one a basic rate and no opportunities to get more and no increased pay scales. The past few years equipment and genuine expenses are not available either - clothing allowance LOL LOL, as if!

I would be interested to know your LA, Foster Monkey - perhaps, if you could, you could message me which one. We do not have any others nearby, do you know if they any are prepared to travel some distance? Of course the same problem regarding our current FC may apply.

The only way we can survive financially is for me to go to work, but as we deal with children with complex needs, the LA aren't too happy with that.

Thanks, both of you!

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