Hanafin announces further increase in Foster Care Allowance
Mary Hanafin, T.D., Minister for Children, today (28 December) announced a further increase in foster care allowances to take effect from 1 January 2002.
The foster care payments which underwent a major increase in August of this year are now to rise from €254 (£200) to€270.50 (£213.05) per week per child under twelve years of age, and from €279 (£220) to €296.50 (£233.51) per week per child aged twelve and over. Twelve months ago the payments were £71.55 per week per child under 12 and £85.55 per week per child over twelve.
Minister Hanafin said “Foster care is a vital part of the care system for children who come into care and the increase is a further indication of the Government´s commitment to strengthening and further developing the foster care services.”
The Minister said that the revised Foster Care Allowance Scheme has been put in place to achieve the objectives set out in the Report of the Working Group on Foster Care: Foster Care – A Child Centred Partnership. This is to ensure that foster carers are adequately recompensed for looking after their foster children without having to go through the process of making claims to Health Boards for discretionary payments.
Also, under the revised Scheme, the provision of Orphan´s Allowance or Pension has been extended to all children in full-time foster care. “This will ensure that all our foster children are treated fairly and equitably”, stated Minister Hanafin, who went on to say “there are about 3,500 children in foster care who get the love and protection that their own families cannot provide”.
The Minister continued “this Government is committed, in principle, to the implementation of the other recommendations of the Report of the Working Group and the Social Services Inspectorate is currently working on drafting ´National Standards on Procedures and Practices on Foster Care´ which the Working Group highlighted as a key recommendation in their Report”.
The Minister concluded by saying that “the Health Boards are being asked to draw up plans for the implementation of the other recommendations in the Report and although there is still a shortage of foster carers I am confident that the new supports will help as regards the recruitment and retention of carers”.