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Where can I go as an ex Foster Carer for help?

(17 Posts)
Foster123 Wed 02-Mar-16 16:32:08

We gave up fostering some 4yrs ago.

Out of the blue we have received an invoice from Social Services for savings for a child who left us 4yrs ago. The invoice says "5% of the foster allowance". This is for the period we had the child with us.

We gave the child weekly pocket money and we were very generous with extra cash for going out and special events.

We saved for the child into a bank account and the SW has the paperwork along with all paperwork for the placement. The savings are only a fraction of what Social Services have put in their invoice.

This seems such an aggressive act. I no longer know any of the Social Workers (the ones I knew have moved on). I no longer have any paperwork as this was all taken when the child left us. Where can I go for help?

Foster123 Wed 02-Mar-16 21:00:59

The 5% of the fostering allowance which we were told had to be paid into savings for the child was introduced towards the end of the placement. Up til that meeting, we had just carried on saving at the rate the old carers saved as this was what the SW said was ok.

Anyone else been retrospectively chased for 5% of the allowance for savings for a child who left 4yrs ago?

It all seems a bit odd.

3PurpleCrocs Wed 02-Mar-16 22:30:40

I've no experience of this but I'd be tempted to let them chase you for it. You had paperwork to back you up, if SS have lost misplaced it then that's their tough luck. If they were to take it as far as Court they'd be paying out far more in costs than they'd be claiming from you, not to mention the man hours that they don't have to spare.

4 years is ridiculous.

FannyFanakapan Wed 02-Mar-16 22:47:01

Id write back to the LA - and ask them to point you to the relevant legislation that obliges you to pay. As far as I'm aware, there is none.

Certainly our LA does not expect any payments for the first couple of months, as you have to set the child up with clothes etc. Thereafter they recommend £20 a month in savings and appropriate pocket money, plus plenty of enrichment activities for the child.

I'd tell them all the paperwork on childs' bank account is with sw, the amount paid in was with her approval, and they should liaise with her if the money has not been given to the child.

Finallyonboard Wed 02-Mar-16 22:50:36

The child can choose not to save the whole amount - bank statements from the time which demonstrate what money was spent on them?

Foster123 Thu 03-Mar-16 09:42:41

Thank you all for responding. Naturally I am very worried. Thankfully I do keep very accurate records (my admin background!).

The child came to us from previous carers who had been saving £2 per week into a savings a/c. The child did not want us to access this a/c so the SW said to carry on at the same rate of £2 per week. We noted the savings in the back of the child's fc diary so it was there for all to see (child, SW and us).

Move on two years and I attended a compulsory meeting for all carers where we were told that it was compulsory now to pay in 5% of the allowance into a savings account, not to be touched by the child until they are 18yrs old or leaving care. I opened an account, paid in the back savings £2 pw, and paid 5% of the allowance from that point. This came to approx. half of the invoice total I have been sent yesterday.

I am going to have to spend HOURS of my time now going back over old records of meetings, conversations, agreements etc to evidence what I did save and why it was half of the invoice total. I do have that evidence but so do social services as I never did anything that was not evidenced or agreed. Luckily I followed up all conversations with SS with an e-mail so have a concise audit trail.

I am so annoyed. I am tempted to ignore the invoice but as it is made out to me personally I am really quite wary now of being recorded as a defaulter if I do not pay it. I think I should raise my own invoice for all the hours I will be spending sorting this out and evidencing the savings for the child.

Cassimin Thu 03-Mar-16 10:58:50

Can't you ask for bank statements or give them the name of SW you gave the info to?
Then they can chance it up with them.
I had a call last week asking how much savings our child had. They needed to know if it was over £2500.
Maybe there is new legislation about savings.
Our LO is 7 , been here 3 years, plan is long term.
We save £30 per week so if all goes to plan they will have a lot of savings when they are older.
I worry that if they leave at 18 they won't be entitled to any financial help as they have savings.

3PurpleCrocs Thu 03-Mar-16 11:38:30

Is this an agency thing? I'm LA and we don't have to officially save anything for the child. Or is it because I'm a task centred carer?

Bit worried I'm suddenly going to be chased for back savings too now! I give pocket money, but have never been able to officially save as the children have usually moved on long before we get any documentation from SW to be able to open a bank account.

Foster123 I would speak to SS before you began any work to advise them you will be billing for the hours worked. Just the threat might get them looking harder in their own offices!

Foster123 Thu 03-Mar-16 11:50:03

Ah Casimin that may make sense. Yes, I remember that the meeting about the new 5% of allowance for child savings came out of new fostering guidelines a few months before the child left us. I do not see how it can be backdated to the start of placement when we did not know about it though! There may be further legislation now, but we have been ex foster carers for 4yrs so current legislation should not be forced upon us retrospectively.

My calculations say that the child will be 18yrs old soon. I would imagine the SW's want to ensure the child has a substantial lump sum to take onwards when leaving care. The new carers would know to save 5%. We had to partially save 5% so our savings element is less than 5%.

It is just getting a bill in the post with no explanatory covering letter that is so irritating. Does no one in SS finance have any manners to pick up the phone and actually TALK to us? Our telephone numbers have not changed and neither has our e-mail address. Do finance lack the ability to check back through a child's leaving placement notes for mention of savings that are paid when the child is 18?

Foster123 Thu 03-Mar-16 12:01:36

3pc. Yes we were LA carers. Are you absolutely sure you do not have to save anything for the child (just voluntary savings not legal requirement)? If so that will ease my troubled mind as it is racing atm!

I posted here to see if retrospective billing of the 5% was common practice. We have been out of fostering for so long. We don't know anyone in their offices any more and because we are EX fc's we won't be allowed any access to anything. I do have my (very good) notes, e-mails and personal diaries thank heavens so will have noted the balance on the savings statements I know.

As you can imagine I am still in shock.

Loriong Thu 03-Mar-16 23:44:19

I'm LA foster carer. There is a requirement for us to save minimum £5 per week for a child, they will access this age 18.

I would talk to them and say what you have told us, that initially there was no requirement to save the 5%. I'm sure it's their error and they are calculating the full length of your placement at 5%. Be confident you have done nothing wrong. It's their error and anyway it's far too late to be chasing this now!

Kitsandkids Sat 05-Mar-16 15:51:40

I'm an LA foster carer. I don't know if we have to save anything for the children as they get older but my 2 are 7 and 8 and I haven't been told I have to save anything for them. I give them 1 pound a week pocket money which they normally spend straightaway, then one has 50 in the bank from Christmas and the other 75 from Christmas and birthday.

FannyFanakapan Sat 05-Mar-16 21:34:00

kits, do they not bring it up at the LAC reviews?

Cassimin Sat 05-Mar-16 23:33:23

I would check with SW. I am with IFA, we have set guidelines for pocket money and savings.
You don't want them saying you need to backdate savings.
We wanted to get an isa for our little one but they already have an account that was opened by the government ( think it was a set thing for all children at the time they were born) mum has this. This means they cannot have an isa so we just opened a savings account. I ask for a statement every 6 months and file it.
We have only been asked about savings once at lac review and then a phone call out of the blue last week.

Loriong Sun 06-Mar-16 01:09:36

I'm pretty sure there would be a requirement to save. Do you have a handbook? We also have guidelines on pocket money. I have an 8yr old who gets £4 per week

Kitsandkids Sun 06-Mar-16 07:30:48

Fanny - nope, nothing has ever been mentioned.

Nigels58 Wed 23-Mar-16 16:54:13

The LA is required to put away savings for FC ,they have parental rights, not the responsibility of FC, my LA deduct savings at source.

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