Introduction - Eligibility criteria
All foster carers are assessed against the same set of competencies and standards in Wales. Assessment is considered a continuous process which begins at the form F and continues under annual review procedures. Foster carers may receive payment for their role, the payment made to foster carers is considered under this policy on the basis of ‘Eligibility’.
- This policy is to apply equally to all foster carers, approved by a fostering service in Wales, who are approved under the Fostering Services (Wales) Regulations 2003 or Fostering Panels (Establishment and Functions) (Wales) Regulations 2018.
- The policy is to apply equally to unrelated foster carers, be they full time or short break carers, and to relative, friend or connected person (‘kinship’) foster carers.
- All approved foster carers and those who are pending approval but with a child placed under regulation 26 Care Planning., Placement and Case Review (Wales) Regulations 2015, will receive an allowance payment which covers the cost of caring for each child within their care. That allowance will include the core allowance calculated in accordance with the National Minimum Fostering Allowance specified for Wales and any additional sum calculated to cover the specific needs of an individual child.
- All approved carers (but not those pending approval) will be entitled to an enhanced allowance (formerly fee) provided that they meet the eligibility criteria set out below. It is open to all approved foster carers, if they so wish, to be assessed against the eligibility criteria.
- Prior to assessment as a mainstream foster carer, applicants will be assessed against the eligibility criteria in respect of the enhanced allowance via an additional allowance eligibility assessment.
- If foster carers have not formerly received an enhanced allowance (fee) and have been assessed under the unified assessment process. A full Form F assessment must be undertaken, upon evidencing that they meet the eligibility criteria prior to them receiving an enhanced allowance.
- Continuation of the enhanced allowance is subject to ongoing monitoring and review. Supervisory and annual review processes will be utilised to record, monitor and evidence continued eligibility.
- Where Foster Carers evidence that they continue to meet the eligibility criteria they will continue to receive an enhanced allowance.
- Where foster carers do not evidence that they have met the eligibility criteria, or are only partially meeting the eligibility criteria at annual review an improvement period of three months will be implemented to allow foster carers additional time to evidence that they meet all four eligibility requirements. Failure to evidence this within the three month period will result in the enhanced allowance being stopped.
- Where an enhanced allowance has been stopped and the foster carers wish to apply for it to be reinstated, a new additional allowance eligibility assessment must be undertaken.
The Eligibility Criteria
In order to receive the enhanced allowance all approved foster carers must be able to demonstrate all of the following:
a) The required skills, ability and competence to care for the range of childrena local authority may need to look after. This will be evidenced through the fostering assessment process and through the regulatory annual review of all approved foster carers;
b) A commitment to continued individual professional learning and development of their fostering skills. This will be evidenced using the personal learning record and development plan during the fostering assessment process and through the regulatory annual review of all approved foster carers;
c) A commitment to continued individual personal development and reflection on practice. This will be evidenced during the fostering assessment process and through the ongoing supervisory process of all approved foster carers;
d) A commitment to co-production with the fostering service. This will be evidenced through participation in foster carer support groups, consultation events, the recruitment of new foster carers and the provision of peer support.
An allowance eligibility flowchart to demonstrate the process that must be followed for each applicant enquiring to foster is included in this policy framework. An enhanced allowance assessment has been designed to ensure consistent approach and delivery and can be found in the appendices. More information regarding fees and allowances can be found in the foster carer agreements.
Payment of the enhanced allowance
Payment of the enhanced allowance will commence from the date of recommendation of approval at foster panel following the presentation of the full Form F assessment.