Foster families across Staffordshire to get ‘lockdown allowance’


Hundreds of foster carers are to receive a ‘lockdown allowance’ to help cover the extra costs of looking after children at home during the coronavirus crisis.

The additional payments will be worth between £264 and £396, depending on the age of the child, and are due to be issued to families today (Friday, April 24).

It is part of a package of support being offered by Staffordshire County Council, which also includes giving carers access to online training. Families are still having their regular scheduled conversations with social workers and can also use virtual support groups during the coronavirus lockdown.

Around 450 foster householders will be getting the additional allowance to cover things such as extra shopping, household expenses and entertainment for children. It also recognises the difficulties young people themselves may be facing, with their routines being disrupted and not being able to see their friends and birth families.

The investment will cost the authority around £148,000 altogether.

Councillor Mark Sutton, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Our foster carers do a remarkable job at the best of times, providing a loving, stable home for those in need of support at a vulnerable time.

“At the moment, it’s tough for everyone. And that includes our foster carers, who can face extra practical and emotional challenges at a time like this, so we are doing all we can to support them and the children and young people they care for while they stay at home.”

Staffordshire County Council is also continuing to recruit new foster carers

The county council currently has more than 850 young people in foster care, including 350 in independent placements.

As well as front-line support, essential work is continuing behind the scenes with annual reviews and approvals. At the same time, the council is still recruiting new foster carers and is currently processing inquiries.

Mr Sutton appealed for more people interested in fostering to get in touch.

He added: “A wide range of people are able to offer foster homes and there is no such thing as a typical foster carer. We need people from all kinds of backgrounds and we always have a particular need for those who can help older children and larger sibling groups.

“We are still seeing people expressing an interest and it’s important that we keep the wheels turning so that, when this difficult time passes, we still have the right number of carers to help vulnerable children and young people and we won’t be in the difficult position of trying to manage a backlog.”

The last Ofsted inspection of children’s social care rated both the service overall and the experience and progress of children in care as ‘good’.

Inspectors said foster carers were well supported by social workers and received help and advice from mentors, as well as individual training.

Anyone interested in becoming a foster carer can find out more here or call 0800 169 2061.





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