Fostering pay and benefits

As a foster carer, you’ll receive a weekly payment, plus a weekly allowance for each child you look after.

All foster carers receive:

  • allowances for each child (including pocket money, holiday, birthday, furniture, clothing and festivities)
  • skills payments
  • annual leave payment
  • generous tax relief
  • other benefits including council tax reduction
  • help and advice around allowances, payments and tax from FosterTalk

Weekly allowance

We'll pay you a weekly amount based on the child's age. This will help to cover the day-to-day costs of looking after a child, such as bills, food, clothes, travel, school dinners, and pocket money.

Age Allowance
0 - 2 £154 per week
3 - 4 £170 per week
5 - 10 £187 per week
11 - 15 £213 per week
16 - 17 £249 per week

Skills-based payments

To recognise the level of your fostering skills, you will also receive an extra weekly payment.

This is based on your level of experience and any additional needs the child / children may have.

Skill Level 1 - £53 per week

Level 1 is our entry level to foster care. All carers will join at this level unless you show the competencies to start the scheme at a higher level.

Skill Level 2 - £133 per week

Level 2 foster carers receive this set rate, plus an extra £133 for a second child and £133 for a third child.

Skill Level 3 - £239 per week

Level 3 foster carers receive this set rate, plus an extra £239 for a second child and £239 for a third child.

Skill Level 4 - £477 per week

Level 4 is primarily for specialised foster care positions i.e. remand foster carers. Plus an extra £239 for a second child and £239.

Holidays and special occasions

Each fostering household that offers short term and long-term foster placements is entitled to a one-off payment of £200 per annum when break away is not used within that financial year. If less than 2 weeks break away is used, then this shall be calculated accordingly. 

The one-off payment should be claimed through the carers’ Supervising Social Worker before the end of March of that financial year. Any payment not claimed within the financial year will not be agreed retrospectively. 

The one off payment only applies to carers following approval of one year and thereafter. For example, if a carer is approved January 2024, they will be unable to claim for the one-off payment until February 2025 with the cut-off date being the end March 2025. Carers offering bridging and break away placements only, short breaks only or PACE are not eligible for the payment. 

If a carer has had to access break away because the Local Authority did not agree to the child joining the carers on holiday, or the child in placement did not have a passport then the carers are still entitled to the one off payment, proving the holiday did not take place in term time for school age children. 

Carers who have regular overnight or weekend break away in place as part of a placement stability support package, or as part of the Mockingbird Model are also eligible for the one off £200 payment per annum, provided that they have not accessed break away care for a period more than has been agreed within the original terms of support.

For example, if 1 x nights break away each 6 weeks has been agreed as part of a placement stability package and this is accessed, then the carer will qualify for the payment. If the carer has accessed this package and then has also accessed an additional 2 weeks break away, even if from the allocated break away or hub carer, then the carer will not qualify for the payment. If the carer does access additional break away at an amount of less than 2 weeks, then this shall be calculated accordingly. 

Retainer skill payments will also remain in place for carers in-between placements and so all short term and long-term carers are entitled to up to 6 weeks skill payments in between placements, up to once a year if required. This payment is equivalent of one skill level within the remit of the carer’s approval and a carer much have no children in placement to qualify for the payment. For example, a skill level 3 carer approved for 2 children will receive 1 x level 3 payments for up to 6 weeks between placement sending and another beginning, should this time scale be required, but only when both placements are vacant. For example, a skill level 3 carer approved for 2 children but with only 1 child in placement will not receive the retainer skill payment for the second available placement. However, if the 1 child in placement moves on, and the carer is then completely vacant, the retained skill payment with then commence. 

There are also allowances available to help towards holidays for the child / children you look after, and birthdays and religious holidays.

Age Amount
0 - 2 £137
3 £141
4 - 10 £156
11 - 15 £177
16+ £207

As a foster carer you'll need to register as self-employed with HMRC.

Additional allowances

Unlike independent fostering agencies, you do not have to cover all costs out of one payment. We also pay special allowances to cover:

  • clothing when a child first comes to live with you
  • educational school trips
  • health and educational expenses
  • basic bedroom furniture and linen

We’ll even help with your mileage payments for some activities. 

If you need items such as buggies, car seats, fire guards and so on, you can borrow these from us.

Tax exemption

HMRC provides a fixed tax exemption of up to £18,140 a year. This means you won’t pay tax on the first £18,140 you earn from fostering. Shared between foster parents in the same household.

Qualifying tax relief

You will also get further weekly tax relief while you have a child in your care. This is on top of the £18,140 tax exemption and is for each child in your care.

The weekly amount of tax relief is dependent on the age of the foster child in your care.

For each child under the age of 11, you will receive a tax relief of £375 per week

For each child aged 11 or over, you will receive a tax relief of £450 per week


Laura is a foster carer. She fosters a 14-year-old (Child 1) for a whole year and an 8-year-old (Child 2) for ten weeks. She does not have to pay tax on the first £45,290 she earns from fostering.

Tax exemption


Tax relief 

Child 1: 52 x £450 = £32,400 Child 2: 10 x £375 = £3,750

Total exemption


Other benefits

On top of the financial package Fostering Wakefield offers other fantastic benefits.

These include:

  • our mainstream foster carers receive a 70% reduction in their council tax bill
  • free gym memberships at all Wakefield Council gyms for fostering households. This includes carers, their partners, birth children, and foster children
  • a free family railcard, providing fantastic discounts
  • membership to FosterTalk

It pays to foster with us. Get in touch with our fostering team for an informal talk and more information.

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