What are allowances?
All foster carers receive an allowance for each child they foster. The amount depends on the age of the child and is paid per day or per week depending how long the child is in the care of a foster family.
The basic allowance is to cover food, clothing, pocket money, a contribution towards housing costs such as household bills and other expenses associated with day-to-day living. Foster carers also receive set allowances to cover additional costs such as caring for a child over Christmas or another significant religious festival and the child’s birthday. When attending meetings or training, foster carers can also claim travel and childcare expenses against limits set by Hampshire County Council.
Rates for allowances and expenses are set annually by Hampshire County Council in line with recommendations from a fostering charity, Fostering Network. The Fostering Network, the UK’s leading fostering charity supports foster carers and works to improve the lives of children in care. Recommended rates for fostering allowances are based on the real costs of looking after someone else’s child plus the additional costs associated with a child in foster care and the roles, responsibilities and availability required of foster carers
|Age of child||Basic fostering allowance
This weekly allowance is to cover the day-to-day cost of the child in placement
|0 to 1 years||£171.01|
|2 to 4 years||£177.03|
|5 to 10 years||£195.02|
|11 to 15 years||£237.79|
Where a parent, or parents, and child are placed together it is the full weekly age appropriate allowance and any skill fee which is normally paid to the carer.
What about skills levels and skills fees?
Hampshire County Council recognises foster carer’s skills and experience through a skills level award scheme. We offer the opportunity to begin your fostering journey on a skills pathway, this allows new foster carers to begin earning a skills level two or three payment as they work towards achieving the required criteria. The pathway you begin on will depend on prior experience and learning within fostering or a history of working with children and young people.
The knowledge, skills and experience of childcare which you have will be discussed with you during your assessment to become a foster carer. This will be used as evidence in your skills appraisal.
The skills fee is paid to recognise the skills of the carer, rather than contribute towards the costs of looking after a child. Your skills fee level is decided through an appraisal process. The process evaluates foster carers skills against a specific set of criteria. To achieve these criteria, foster carers need to evidence training, experience, qualifications, knowledge and skills working with children or young people with difficult or complex needs. The experience can be gained formally through professional routes or be from voluntary experience or other sources. It’s the same amount irrespective of the child’s age and is paid for each child placed with you. Additional information about the foster carer skills level criteria is available during the assessment stage of the foster care journey
|Skills level||Skill fee
When a foster carer has a child in placement, they will receive a skill fee weekly in recognition of their experience.
Home from Home
Specialist respite care, now known as Home from Home, is support offered to families with a child or young person with additional needs. These could be physical, developmental, or emotional. Not only will you give a child the opportunity to have new experiences and meet new people, you will also build a supportive and close valuable time to relax and recharge their batteries. The children requiring this service are aged between 0–18 years. They could have a range of needs from Autistic Spectrum Disorder and learning difficulties, to a physical or sensory impairment. We also receive referrals for children who have complex health needs, life-limiting illnesses and may require personal care. Specialist respite care has its own allocated allowance. At the time of publishing, allowances are under review and will be made available on our website
|Hours||Specialist Respite Care allowance
This weekly allowance is to cover the day-to-day cost of the child/young person in your care.
|Hourly Rate||£9.00 per hour|
(12 hour period)
(12 hour period)
How am I allocated to a skills level?
Skills levels are an additional payment awarded in recognition of foster carers’ skills, competence and capacity to meet the needs of Hampshire’s children in care. The payment is made to a foster carer on a weekly basis for each child they have in their care and will be applied to all children in their care from the point of being awarded.
All foster carers should evidence that they are able to meet the National Minimum Standards for Fostering as outlined in the Hampshire Foster Carers’ Agreement through their fostering assessment and ongoing annual household reviews. This is a requirement of the Fostering Regulations 2011 for them to remain suitable to foster.
Foster carers who are awarded level 2 and level 3 payments can demonstrate through a range of evidence that they are significantly improving outcomes for children/young people. Furthermore, they can demonstrate that they are able to support children through times of difficulty and challenge to ensure that they are supported to remain living with them, or that they move to a new home in a planned way when that is possible.
Some children who need to live with foster carers may be part of a large sibling group; have experienced many changes of home; have offended or present with other behaviours that are hard for carers to respond to; have complex disabilities; or whom need sensitive support to return to their own family or to a new family or home.
These children/young people may need a higher level of skills, resilience, and tenacity from carers. Hampshire County Council will identify these children/young people and will match them to the skills and experience of level 2 or 3 carers.
Level 3 carers will be required to have the capacity to care for children up to the age of 18 years. There will be an expectation that the majority of placements they offer will be from our priority groups, i.e., for teenagers or children who have very complex disabilities or specific needs. Where there are joint carers from a fostering household, they can demonstrate how they jointly meet the skills, experiences and learning but only one carer is required to complete the level 3 qualification.
If you are a Hampshire foster carer and have a payment query, please contact the Children’s Services Payments Team on [email protected]
You won’t be on your own when you foster. There are so many other fostering families in Hampshire, just like you, who depend on each other.
The Hampshire Hive consists of a small number of fostering families who support one another in their local area, with one foster carer known as the Hive Carer Support Worker acting as the heart of the hive.
The Hive will become a support bubble for the foster families and the child/ren they care for. Over time families within the Hive will develop close relationships, like friends and family. The Hive families will identify any potential challenges and offer support to foster carers in their Hive to ensure the child/ren they care for remain in a stable home.
As a member of a Hive Family, you will have access to:
- Regular support group meetings for Hive Families
- One-to-one support
- Family events
Meet your local Hive Care Support Worker
There are currently twenty three Hives across Hampshire each led by a Hive Care Support Worker:
- Aldershot & Farnborough – Shelley
- Aldershot & Farnborough Two – Jo
- Alton, Bordon & Petersfield – Pauline
- Andover – Estelle
- Basingstoke - Ben
- Basingstoke Two - Ben
- Southampton - Ali
- Eastleigh – Lynda
- Eastleigh Two – Becki & Lynda
- Fareham – Sarah
- Fareham Two – Heidi
- Gosport – Lisa
- Gosport Two – Michelle
- Havant & Hayling Island – Leanne
- Havant and Hayling Island x2 – Johnny
- Portsmouth – Caroline
- Ringwood – Sian
- Southampton 2 – Cloe
- SW New Forest – David
- Totton & Waterside – Denise
- Totten & Waterside Two – Antony & Denise
- Waterlooville – Johnny
- Waterlooville Two – Cloe
- Winchester – Becki
Develop and excel as a Hampshire foster carer.
Your development is important to us, which is why we offer an extensive range of training courses that will help you when caring for children and aid your personal development. Our trainers are friendly and experienced, recognising the skills and knowledge you already have.
Our training courses include:
- Education for children looked after
- Equality, diversity and attachment
- Mental health for children and young people
- Modern slavery, trafficking, and exploitation
- Teenage psychology
- Working with children with learning difficulties and disabilities
- And much more.
Foster Career Pathway
Your social worker will help you with your personal development plan, which will give you a clear focus to your learning and help you map out your next steps of your fostering journey. Your social worker will provide you with guidance and support in your future development.
Get access to specific foster carer advice, counselling, insurance and more.
FosterTalk is an independent support services provider, specialising in FISS (Fostering Independent Support Service). Our foster carers receive a full independent free membership with FosterTalk, which includes:
- 24-hour legal advice, counselling support and medical/first aid helpline
- Legal expenses insurance;
- personal finance advice, including mortgages, pensions, savings, tax, accountancy, national insurance and benefits;
- education support helpline;
- unlimited access to online learning and online carer forums;
- over 4,500 fantastic discounts/offers on lifestyle products and services across the UK; and
- a quarterly FosterTalk magazine.
Learn more at www.fostertalk.org
Our growing community keeps you connected in your vital role enhancing children’s lives. Through the Hampshire Hive, buddies and groups, you will be supported throughout your fostering journey.
As well as your social worker, you will be buddied with an experienced foster carer. They are there to provide you with support throughout your assessment and will involve you with the wider community of foster carers.
There are many support groups across Hampshire, usually organised by a foster carer with occasional guest speakers. Contact your social worker to find out where your local support group is.
Additional support organisations
Hampshire Fostering Network All Hampshire foster carers can become members of Hampshire Fostering Network (HFN). They offer additional support, guidance and advice as well as being ‘your voice’ with Hampshire Children’s Services.Fosterline is a Government run helpline for any questions relating to fostering. This service is delivered by FosterTalk on behalf of the Department of Education and is the place to go to get your questions answered.
For your children
Hampshire also provide support for your own children already in the house. We make sure we include your children in the conversations throughout your application where necessary, as well as host participation events for them throughout the year. Everyone in the fostering family can get involved, have fun and share experiences at these events, which include BBQs, picnics and seasonal get-togethers.
We encourage local employers to show their support for foster carers. It is the employer’s discretion whether to grant foster carers short periods of unpaid leave or additional paid leave to enable them to attend training, assessment, meetings, or to settle a child into their home.
Hampshire County Council support employers in the development or revision of your organisation’s current policies. We would be more than happy to support foster carers in these discussions about a fostering friendly employment policy with their employer. Contact us to learn more [email protected].
Out of hours helpline
There is an out of hours helpline that you can call if there is an issue that cannot wait for your Social Worker to deal with in office hours. Our friendly team will be sure to help you as best as possible with your query.
30 hour free childcare
You will be eligible for your children in foster care if it is consistent with the child’s care plan and you are working outside your fostering role.
Children in foster care will be able to receive 30 hours of free childcare if this criteria is met. Your social worker can help you with your application, which can be made 16 weeks before the child turns 3 years old.