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Fees and allowances

Suffolk provides a highly competitive payment scheme, where you can receive up to £606 per week, per child.

This scheme allows career opportunities as you develop as a foster carer; recognising your skills, experience and the type of fostering you're offering.

We're particularly interested in hearing from people who already have some skills and experience, and are able to care for older children, or those with more complex needs. In return you could be eligible for our higher level payments.

In addition to weekly payments, you'll also receive:

  • 4 additional weekly allowance payments per year, for summer holiday, birthdays, Christmas or other festivals

  • mileage at 45 pence per mile for meetings and for supporting contact

  • loan of essential equipment and computers

  • up to 21 days paid respite

  • insurance

  • membership to a discount scheme to include money off cinema tickets, shopping and days out

Experienced carers transferring to us from another fostering agency are likely to be eligible for higher level payments, which will be agreed following application and early stages of assessment.

How does the payment scheme work?

All carers receive a weekly allowance to cover the expenses and cost of caring for a child in care. This is the national rate set by the government, and increases with the age of the child.

Additionally, carers can then receive a weekly fee as their income. The amount you receive varies depending on which tier level you're on, and is based on the ages and complexity of needs of the children you're offering to care for.

You'll need to show you've the experience, skills and knowledge to care for children who would be placed with you.


How do you work out which tier would best suit me and my family?

During the assessment process your social worker will help you to identify which tier and age band will best match what you and your family are able to provide. They can give you details and examples of children who you would be asked to care within each tier. We'll begin this discussion with you during your initial visit.


Can I offer care for children at different tiers, or change tier levels?

You'll be able to care for children at different tiers at the same time (e.g. a teenager at level 3, and a younger child at level 2). You can also change tiers as you gain more experience, or your personal circumstances change. It means that you'll have flexibility and choice in what you can offer, and allows you to develop in your fostering career.


What allowances are there for Link (short breaks) carers?

Link carers receive an hourly rate of £3.50 to cover their expenses whilst they're caring for a child.


Financial assistance

All carers receive:

  • a weekly allowance to cover the cost of caring for a looked after child

  • competitive weekly income/fee

  • an additional four weeks allowances for holidays, birthday and festivals

  • a loan of essential equipment and provision of computer for school aged children

  • mileage costs for meetings and training

  • membership to a discount scheme, including money off cinema tickets, your weekly supermarket shop, and family outings.

During the enquiry and assessment process you will have the opportunity to talk to some of our foster carers who can tell you more about their own experiences of the support they receive and the reasons they continue to foster.

Fostering allowances and fees 2017-2018

The allowances and fees you could be entitled to depending on the level and age of your foster child, and descriptions about the different tiered scheme levels of fostering.

Carers are offering very basic and limited type of fostering.

Tiered Scheme Level Allowance Fee (£) Total weekly payment (£) Additional payments (per year)
Standard Level 1 (ages 0-1) 123 0 123 492
Standard Level 1 (ages 2-3) 126 0 126 504
Standard Level 1 (ages 4-10) 139 0 139 556
Standard Level 1 (ages 11-15) 159 0 159 636

The entry level for many people who're new to fostering, and/or have more limited experience.

You may be offering to care for children with less complex behaviour, and/or are offering short-term placements, or to care for children under the age of 5.

Tiered Scheme Level Allowance Fee (£) Total weekly payment (£) Additional payments (per year)
Intermediate Level 2 (ages 0-1) 123 21 144 492
Intermediate Level 2 (ages 2-3) 126 23 149 504
Intermediate Level 2 (ages 4-10) 139 26 165 556
Intermediate Level 2 (ages 11-15) 159 45 204 636
Intermediate Level 2 (ages 16-17) 185 63 248 740

Carers will need to be able to care for:

  • a wide range of children aged between 6 and 18, with complex behaviours (e.g. recurrent bedwetting, sexualised behaviour, aggression, verbal abuse, stealing, moderate disabilities)
  • sibling groups or permanence
  • children aged 0 to 6 with high levels of care needs/disability

You'll likely have some relevant work or voluntary experience, and child care qualifications.

Tiered Scheme Level Allowance Fee (£) Total weekly payment (£) Additional payments (per year)
Advanced Level 3 (ages 0-1) 123 141 264 492
Advanced Level 3 (ages 2-3) 126 148 274 504
Advanced Level 3 (ages 4-10) 139 166 305 556
Advanced Level 3 (ages 11-15) 159 196 355 636
Advanced Level 3 (ages 16-17) 185 221 406 740

Children or sibling groups aged 7 to 18, with more complex, challenging, or risk taking behaviours (e.g. smearing, self-harming, substance misuse, sexually harmful behaviour, multiple and sever disabilities).

Flexibility of placements, i.e. multiple placements at the same time or only a single placement if this best meets the needs of the child or young person.

Carers will need to already have fostering experience or extensive experience of working with children with complex needs.

Tiered Scheme Level Allowance Fee (£) Total weekly payment (£) Additional payments (per year)
Foster Plus Level 4 (ages 7-10) 139 266 405 556
Foster Plus Level 4 (ages 11-15) 159 296 455 636
Foster Plus Level 4 (ages 16-17) 185 321 506 740

Carers offering this type of fostering will need to be able to provide an extremely flexible range of placements for children between 7 and 18 years who have a diverse spectrum of very challenging behaviours and backgrounds. Carers will need to work within a prescribed model of intervention, such as our Zipwire or PACE programmes.

Tiered Scheme Level Allowance Fee (£) Total weekly payment (£) Additional payments (per year)
Specialist Level 5 (ages 7-10) 139 366 505 556
Specialist Level 5 (ages 1-15) 159 396 555 636
Specialist Level 5 (ages 16-17) 185 421 606 740

Find out more

Please call us on 01473 264800 if you have any questions on Suffolk fees and allowances.  

Fees and allowances you receive for fostering are considered differently to other income for both benefits and tax purposes. It may not affect any benefits you receive, and there's a separate, generous tax allowance.

Information about national insurance, tax and a special scheme for foster carers, and Qualifying Care Relief can be found on the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) website, please see:

You can also visit the Fostering Network website to find out more.




"I'm looking forward to her future, I believe she will make it a good one."

- Shirley, foster carer

Get in touch

If you have any queries about fostering, or are interested in starting your journey as a foster carer, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Contact us


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