Re: Fostering Allowance Increase
Please find attached details of the Fostering Allowance levels from the 2nd April 2016 onwards.
I am delighted to inform you, that despite a continued freeze on our fee levels to Local Authorities, we have decided to apply an increase to your Fostering Allowance. All other benefits remain unchanged and, despite the welcome fall in the cost of petrol, the mileage allowance will be maintained at the current level of 45p a mile.
The new allowance paid for your current young person/people will be outlined in the letter you will be receiving shortly. Click here to download the weekly fostering allowance levels for all fostering services.
The fostering allowance levels are based on bandings. Following the cessation of the NVQ3, we are currently reviewing the criteria for progression through the bandings and anticipate amending the current system to more accurately reflect the changes to advanced training opportunities. This review will be completed during 2016, when further information will follow. In the interim, from April the requirement for NVQ3 training will be replaced with a requirement to complete/keep up to date all mandatory training courses.
It should come as no surprise to you that we are still in a tough economic climate. Local Authorities are under pressure to reduce spending on their budgets and children's services are not immune from this process. All Local Authorities are looking for efficiency savings and this includes a reduction in their own staffing levels through redundancies, cuts in frontline services, removal of benefit schemes and a reduction in the level of support and training offered to their own Foster Carers. We continue to receive feedback from other agency foster carers who have transferred to Local Authorities that the promises given have not been kept.
Blue Sky continues to be an efficient and cost effective partner and as such we remain first choice for our Local Authority customers across the South. This is reflected in the continued growth in the number of children and young people referred to us (average of 500+ per month) and in turn the number of children placed with our agency. Currently, 68% of the young people placed with Blue Sky are now placed on a permanent basis, dispelling the myth that young people are being moved back from IFA’s to Local Authorities.
During 2015, we developed our services to ensure you, and the young people in your care, received the very best support from us. In particular, we:
- Expanded our therapeutic support through employing a number of designated Therapeutic professionals.
- Increased the number of Support Workers to directly support you and the children in your care.
- Increased the number of Educational Staff to ensure that your young people remained in school and achieved their educational milestones.
- Increased the number of Social Workers supporting our foster carers.
- Opened 3 new offices across the region to provide local venues to meet and undertake training.
- Relaunched our training programme to ensure that there was a balance between coming together in groups and undertaking training on line at a time which suits you.
During 2016/17, we will;
- Invest heavily in additional specialist staff to support you.
- Maintain much lower caseloads for our Social Workers than their LA colleague’s experience, so they have the time to support you.
- Expand and develop therapeutic training to ensure you feel prepared to undertake the fostering task.
- Review and develop our ‘out of hours’ duty service to ensure that you receive support in a crisis from Blue Sky Social Workers working in your local team.
- Continue to deliver events and opportunities for you, your families and our young people, to come together and have fun!
We remain committed to maintaining a balance between providing you with a competitive fostering allowance and delivering a range of high quality and timely resources to ensure that we are right alongside you, and your families, working in partnership and advocating on your behalf to manage the challenges of fostering.
Finally, please accept my sincere thanks for your on-going commitment to the work of Blue Sky. You are making an incredible difference to the lives of the vulnerable children and young people in our care.