By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan
Foster carers working for Kent County Council could receive a cash boost as part of an improved support package.
Those caring for children and young people most in need of help, through the emergency bed scheme, could be set to receive extra pay later this year as a reward for their dedicated services.
Foster carers receive up to £705 each week for use of their home as well as maintenance and “reward” payments when a child or young person is placed within their care.
An enhanced payment of around £87-a-week is likely to now be granted to emergency bed carers who are looking after children or young people with complex needs.
A council report published for KCC’s children’s, young people and education committee states: “The new policy recognises that some of our young people require higher levels of support and supervision.
“Paying an enhanced payment to foster carers will enable young people to remain within a family home, as opposed to an emergency residential provision.”
If approved, foster carers would be made aware of the proposed changes, which amount to around £12.52 per night, in the first week of March.
The extra payment would be equal to that received by carers of severely disabled children and is based on the higher rate of disability living allowance.
KCC’s emergency foster bed scheme provides a safe haven for children and young people, aged between 0 and 17, who are in need of an immediate place of safety at a time of crisis.
This includes children or young people who require a home due to a family breakdown, police protection or bail conditions which prevent a return to their original place of living.
Kent currently has four foster carers providing six emergency bed placements between them. By launching the updated policy, KCC says it will be able to recruit an extra four carers, with a plan to have 10 emergency bed placements across the county.
KCC’s cabinet member for children’s services, Cllr Sue Chandler (Con), has declined to comment on the proposal ahead of a crunch public meeting on Friday (January 10) at County Hall, starting from 10am.