Wakefield foster carers in line for first pay rise in four years

Foster carers are paid depending on their experience, and the number of children placed with them.
Foster carers are paid depending on their experience, and the number of children placed with them.

Foster carers looking after children in Wakefield are set to get their first pay rise for four years.

Wakefield Council is likely to sign off a raise, worth an average of £62 a week, at a Cabinet meeting next week.

The rise would take effect in October and will apply to all "in house foster carers" - adults who have a child placed directly with them by the council. Those employed by an agency would not be affected.

The local authority said that the move would bring pay for carers into line with other areas.

Coun Margaret Isherwood, portfolio holder for children and young people, said: "Foster carers provide essential support to children and young people at a time of great need in their lives.

"We absolutely respect and value foster carers here in Wakefield.

"They do a fantastic job and it is very important their efforts and skills are recognised as they make a huge difference to individuals, families and to communities in our district."

Foster carers are paid depending on their experience and how many children they are looking after, and any increase they receive will vary depending on their current pay grade.

A total of 204 children are with currently with foster carers directly employed by Wakefield Council.

A report going before the Cabinet next Tuesday said: "Wakefield has provided some form of fee payment scheme for its foster carers since 2004.

"The current foster carer payment scheme was introduced in 2015 and has not been reviewed since that date.

"A comparison with other fostering agencies in the area has shown that payment rates have fallen behind those of other local authorities and the independent sector and are now no longer comparable."

The report added that increasing pay would make it "more viable" for some carers to give up other work and focus solely on fostering.

It also said that 16 carers had left the service over the last year.

Five of these retired on health grounds, while a further three decided to adopt the children they'd been fostering.

Another three left as a result of a change of circumstances, while the rest left "on the back of practice concerns", the report added.

Local Democracy Reporting Service