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Caithness News Bulletins August 2004

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11 August 04
Foster Cares Will Now Receive Payments In Addition To Expenses
Members of The Highland Council’s Housing and Social Work Committee have approved £296,000 to be earmarked for improving the recruitment and retention of foster carers in the Highlands. 

Following close consultation with foster carers, a report was presented at today’s Committee detailing proposals to modernise the service.  Currently the Council has a valued group of 80 approved foster carers who look after 155 children. The majority of carers are over 50 years old, with very few under 30. 

At present foster carers receive subsistence to cover the expenses of looking after children but today Councillors have agreed new proposals which mean carers will receive a weekly payment.  Those looking after children under 13 years old will receive £60 per week and those caring for children aged 13 and above, £100 in addition to the normal fostering allowance.  In addition a bonus system will be introduced to recognise long service amongst carers and extra funding will allow for more support and formalised training for existing and new foster carers.

Chairman of the Housing and Social Work Committee, Councillor Margaret Davidson said: “The difficulties we have had in recruiting foster carers is a national issue.  I am delighted that the report presented to committee today acknowledged the very important contribution carers make.  The £296,000 will be going directly to them in recognition of the vital role they have in helping us support Highland children in Highland. By making a weekly payment to carers we are making fostering a more attractive option and an alternative to seeking part-time employment.  This in turn will improve the range of placements open to young people across the Highlands.”