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New placement with no belongings

(25 Posts)
Rubyx Wed 21-Jan-15 11:58:31

Hi, just wanted some advice from agency carers. Although my payments include clothing for the placements are the children entitled to a basic starter package from council or agency when they come with nothing except the clothes on their back.


mum2tots Wed 21-Jan-15 13:39:02

My La will give you £112.98 in cash on the doorstep when they drop the child off.

Pengyquin Wed 21-Jan-15 13:40:38

sad How sad is this?

Just buy them some clothes from Asda or ask on FB for some second hand bundles for free.

This breaks my heart.

Hobby2014 Wed 21-Jan-15 13:47:42

It's easy to just say buy cheap clothes but what if op doesn't have any money to?
Sorry no advice op x

willowrose30 Wed 21-Jan-15 14:56:09

We had the same with our lot.
As we work for an agency we didn't get anything up front and found that we just wrote off the first few months payments getting straight from the set up when they arrived. Which we didn't mind as the allowance is there to cover things like this. I think its fair to expect a lot of the LOs to come to you without much esp if they are coming straight from home.
We had to buy lots of equipment too though, pushchairs etc. We put most of it on credit cards and paid off once we had been paid, but the agency did offer an advance and encouraged us to take them up on it (we didn't in the end) as it can be a huge outlay initially so i would definitely take advantage of it if you need to.
Ebay and Facebook selling sites are really good too.
Good luck. ;)

riveravon23 Wed 21-Jan-15 15:49:22

A couple of years ago I had two siblings arrive with no belongings at all. I was given just £50 between them, which just about covered pyjamas/dressing gown for that night and underclothes for the next day. That however was with a LA, and as you can imagine it cost a lot more money to assemble a basic wardrobe/shoes for them both. We were never refunded and made to feel very grabby for even asking for more and were very much out of pocket.

Their other siblings went to agency carers who received £250 per child to buy the clothes they needed.

I guess everyone operates differently.

scarlet5tyger Wed 21-Jan-15 20:21:31

I find it's very common for children to arrive with nothing - sometimes not even shoes.

My LA advertise a clothing allowance but I don't know anyone who's actually received it. I now keep a stock pile of basic clothes in all the sizes I'm approved for that at least cover day one. (My LA has recently agreed that FCs can keep clothes Children have outgrown (obviously not clothes from home, or that FC hasn't purchased), probably as a way of no longer having to pay out initial clothing allowances. Previously we sent everything, even outgrown clothes, with a child when they moved on)

Winterskies Wed 21-Jan-15 22:20:59

We had a child who we had to collect from a police station two days before Christmas with no belongings. I was given £100 clothing allowance and another £100 for Christmas presents that I raced around buying on Christmas eve for them. The child's social worker organised this for us.

Cassimin Thu 22-Jan-15 13:06:38

We had a little one arrive late with nothing so went to all night tesco to buy stuff to tide us over. Child was moved on after a couple of days, took clothes with them so we ended up on a minus!
Put receipts in to IFA but heard nothing but didn't push it as it wasn't much.

Pengyquin Thu 22-Jan-15 18:38:11

Hobby It's my understanding you get paid to be a foster carer?

So you will have money surely to get clothes?

Appreciate that salary isn't supposed to be to spend on clothes for each and every child you care for, but it's only like teaching (which I do) where I spend a huge amount of my salary each year on things for the children (supplies for school, pencils/erasers/rulers/spare pe socks/spare pe tops etc etc)

If I fostered, I'm pretty sure I would spend a little money on some second hand clothing bundles in the sizes I was approved to foster for. Certainly wouldn't cost anywhere near £50 hmm

Such a sad situation for all these children. Well done to you all for looking after them.

Candycoco Thu 22-Jan-15 18:54:05

When my current placement arrived - newborn and sibling, they came with nothing. I do have have quite a lot of clothing in for this reason however storage is not infinite and along with all toys, baby equipment and so on (for all of the ages I am approved for) we are bursting at the seams.

My LA do provide a clothing allowance if a child arrives with nothing c£100 per child, however when you have to buy school clothes, coats, shoes, underwear, pyjamas etc it doesn't go far. What my LA also do every time is tell me to buy what they need and then submit my receipts for reimbursement. I did this and only just got my money back last week - 3 months later, when I really needed that money before Xmas. This has happened every time.

No foster Carer wants the children to go without however we are very often out of pocket at the start of a placement. Pengy - what you don't seem to realise is that when a child is placed with you it can be 3 or 4 weeks before we are actually paid any allowance as it takes time to go through the payroll. So we are not just clothing them out of our own money, we are feeding them, putting petrol in our cars to take them to school and contact, and buying anything else we need for that child.
I am a single Carer and this puts huge strain on my finances, it's hardly comparable to buying pencils and rubbers for class.

TwoLittleTerrors Thu 22-Jan-15 19:47:57

I'm feeling so touched how much you all have given to these poor children by fostering them. It just make me so sad to hear they could arrive with nothing.

fasparent Thu 22-Jan-15 21:39:36

They do come in cloth's, some very little admit, Old cloths are important too them smell, memory's don't wash them right away put them unwashed
with their new cloths too transfer familiar scents, too new cloths, always mix old cloths with new ones or give them choices, as for cost is immaterial , think we all keep in a stock, just buy as and when needed as any other child in care or not, you can buy in, only for child too be moved due too changes and circumstances, lessons learned.

NovemberRose Thu 22-Jan-15 22:27:45

Pengyquin, I used to be a teacher and I know all about using your own money to buy books, resources etc, but this really doesn't compare. Foster carers aren't paid a salary; they're paid an allowance to spend on the child. To give you an idea of how little this is, I receive just over a quarter of what my teacher's salary used to be!
The allowance of course is not just for clothes but for food, toys, equipment, days out, toiletries, nappies etc as well as to go towards household bills which are inevitably affected by an extra person's use of electricity etc We do all this of course, and willingly, and in my case I think the allowance covers what I spend most months.
However, this thread is about those cases where a child arrives with nothing and a carer has to go out and buy a complete wardrobe of clothes all at once. It would take an exceptionally savvy bargain hunter to do that for £50, and since it has to be done very quickly there's no time to do anything but dash to the 24 hour Asda or Tesco. My current foster child arrived wearing pyjamas and had nothing else with him at all, no clothes, no toys. We were given a clothing allowance £150 to buy stuff for him, and I was grateful for that, but as in CandyCoco's case the money took weeks to materialise.

Rubyx Fri 23-Jan-15 12:13:54

My experiences have varied per placement and most of your answers reflect this.
1. Babies and the parents gave me everything they had, 20 baby gro's, toys, milk bottles etc. ( They went back to mum 6 months ago)
2. Came with nothing except the clothes they were wearing, i went and spent clothes on underwear, nightwear and two outfits and shoes as the ones she wore had holes in them. She moved 4 days later so i was out of pocket.
3. Child came with limited selection and i built up her wardrobe using the weekly allowance. im sure the social worker would have sorted something but i never got around to it.
4. Child from abroad with nothing, council reimbursed me £250.

I haven't considered keeping a stock of clothes because of space etc but might just get some basic stuff. Also never considered charity shops from clothes although other items toys, pushchairs etc i will buy of ebay and the likes.

If you get continous placements then it is easy enough to build up and go spend a £100 or two buying the basics but when it is a placement after months and you don't know how long for, then you have to think twice
Thanks for all your replies, i guess we are all in the same boat.

Pengyquin Sat 24-Jan-15 22:29:39

I'm wrong then. My understanding was that you could 'earn' as much as £1500 a month. I only take home £1300 as a teacher.

FannyFanakapan Sun 25-Jan-15 08:02:50

pengyquin, agency carers could earn that. In our LA, we get about £1000 a month if we are level 3 qualified, which takes about a year. Of that, half is our "salary" and half is used for the child - so clothes, shoes, toys, pocket money, savings account, day trips, petrol to and from school and contact (first 20 miles is expected to be absorbed), not to mention equipment and utilities and food. In the first year or so, we are on half that, as we only get the child's allowance.

Ive never felt out of pocket, but I certainly dont make any money from this.

My last placement arrived in spring - it was still very cold, sub zero most nights, temps under 10 degrees in the day. They came with shorts and T shirts and crocs. No jumper, no coat, no shoes, no socks. No uniform basics (grey flannels and white polos are sort of universal). No PJs.

I find a general shout out to my friends always helps - they in turn shout to their local friends and we generally find some bits and bobs for the child within 12 hours, more within 36 hours, and then top up what they need. People can be incredibly generous when asked. My own foster network (a group of 5 or so carers who meet up on occasion) have been great at sharing kit too.

We keep a stash of clothing in the attic, boxed up, and I could manage newborns, girls from 1-4 and boys from 2-4 and 8-11 with what I have. Outside this age, Id be at the 24hour supermarket buying essentials.

Cassimin Sun 25-Jan-15 11:51:19

Cares can 'earn' this much per month. Teachers provide care , keep children safe, ensure they are educated and build loving relationships. Taxi drivers provide transport (60 miles a day in our case). 5 star hotels provide bed, breakfast evening meals. Social workers are advocates and ensure that all of the child needs are met . Chilcare providers provide care for children when they are needed. Foster carers do all of this and more. It is impossible to compare the allowance received to wages of any other 'job '.

Littlemeg37 Sun 22-Feb-15 01:17:42

Well said Cassimin. I have had a fair few children come with nothing but what they stand in, when this has happened I have been reimbursed after informing the childs social worker so get them asked it doesn't come out their pockets.

fasparent Sun 22-Feb-15 11:10:05

Agree with Cassimin every situation is at point of need, Baby's, young children, and teen's, Allowance's is second too this in reality, most of us will try and claw back what we can, some LA's and agency's are a bit tight
think a lot depends on your placement sw or ssw. Sad but this is the reality.

ghostinthecanvas Thu 26-Feb-15 23:31:13

It depends on the LA. I have had children arrive with nothing but there was an available instant payment. It really does vary. Worth asking when kids arrive.
Reminds me of my first placement. Day after panel, 2 babies. My DH was away, I never knew a soul in the village as we hadn't been there long, had one hours notice of the childrens arrival. I had nothing. Absolutely nothing and no way to get it. I phoned a work colleague of DHs to ask if she had anything. Within 15 minutes I had strangers dropping things in. A lady I had never met did the hour round trip to the nearest supermarket and bought food, clothes, nappies. I did pay her but the fact that she took the time was so kind. By the time it was bedtime, I had cots, bedding, chairs, toys. Even my agency came through and provided a double buggy. It was the most amazing day, full of kindness, it keeps me going years later!
Little bit off topic but this thread just reminded me and gave me the feel goods smile

newfostercarer Mon 04-May-15 03:15:03

That is lovely ghost!

You learn the more experienced you get. We have been out of pocket a lot by fostering and we were happy to buy urgent things at the local Tesco etc when we have had children come with nothing as we thought we'd get refunded by keeping receipts, as we were told. We only got things refunded, including a lot of furniture we had to buy, over 8 months' later, and not everything.

To Pengy, I mean this in a nice way, but I too would not mind spending £50-100 to buy the first essential clothes on my old salary, but I gave up a comfortable job in order to foster and was assured that clothes, equipment, mileage would be refunded etc but then you find out that any refund from our LA is like going to war, and it is exhausting to always ask and ask again for the money back.

I only get about £550/month as an allowance for our foster child (and we don't get anything else like a carer's fee...).

We now buy almost only second hand, as you can get so much more, but the LA will not refund 2nd hand clothes for health and safety reasons (to me clothes are just as "dirty" after being hanged in a store and touched by many, and need washing again either way, so am not sure what their reasoning is). We are also slowly growing a stash of nice second hand clothes, but we can't buy for girls/boys from 0 to 18 years just in case (money and storage).

It is really something we do only out of love and we do everything we can for our foster children, so it is quite upsetting when I read people who are not foster carers think we are being unreasonable or tight. The LA's are being tight and try to squeeze out as much as possible out of carers.

If we were with an IFA it would be better as my understanding is most pay £350/week + and then you can manage the money for clothes, mileage, etc yourself without having to ask for refunds. Over the year it probably would work out not much more than with the LA (if they did refund), but it would be much less stressful.

Want2bSupermum Mon 04-May-15 04:20:01

I am in NJ USA and our Sally ann has a program that provides foster carers with any equipment they need for the children they are looking after. DH and I donate a little and I have helped to collect furniture items as well as clothes and toys.

The Sally ann operate their center here on a 24hr basis. A couple we knew in our old town fostered a lovely boy who was 18months old. He arrived with his clothes and a soiled diaper. Sally Ann arrived 30mins later with everything and I ran round with a big box of wipes and a few size 5 diapers that thankfully fit. Others stopped by with clothes and toys. At the end of his placement the furniture went back but everything else went with him.

happylou22 Wed 03-Jun-15 22:09:37

On money, we get 'paid' extremely well - just under £2000 (tax free) a month and foster for an IFA. Within this is our boarding out allowance. A measley sum which I doubt covers what it actually costs to look after a child. However, just imagine I get 'paid' £2k. When you look at what my 'hourly rate' would be I am on £2.66 an hour. You foster for love, not for money. You are a fool if you foster for money. It's the worst 'job' ever - you get no lunch breaks, the hours are long, the annual leave is impossible to book most of the time and only 2 weeks a year for many. Your colleague is your spouse, if you have one. Otherwise you are slaving away alone. You can make some decisions - but don't have autonomy. Your 'customers' don't like you some of the time, don't appreciate you some of the time and occasionally trash your house. Like I said, you're a fool if you foster for money.

But if you treat it like a vocation with a donation towards living expenses and life expenses then perhaps its the best vocation out there

We have asked in the past for £ towards expenses but this is normally on short term placements where the £ you get for the time they are with you doesn't even come close to covering the £200+ I estimate it costs to kit out a child (shoes, coat, PJs, underwear, school uniform, play clothes, swimming costume for the lesson they have never managed to attend before on Tuesday, school bag, cuddly toy, suitcase so they don't move on with bin bags etc). And so many kids arrive the week before their birthday, christmas, easter, summer holidays etc.

Rubyx Wed 08-Jul-15 07:19:18

Totally agree with all of that. You can't just do it for the money. It is your life you are giving away sometimes. When you get the right placement it is the best feeling ever, or when you get a placement where you see the changes in how the child flourishes. But when you get the ones who don't want to know you it can be so stressful, draining and makes you want to give up. But you want to do something for the kids, give back to the world and you plod on

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