Slough slashes foster carer pay by up to half

Slough Borough Council’s cabinet has agreed to cut the amount foster carers receive by up to 50 per cent, from 15 November.

In September, CYP Now reported that plans had been put forward that would see all foster carers’ income slashed from £400 to £200 per week. In a compromise to original proposals, foster carers with children currently in their care will see their pay cut by 25 per cent to £300, dropping to a 50 per cent cut when the placement ends. All new foster carers will receive the lower payment of £200.

Raina Sheridan, deputy chief executive of the Fostering Network, said: “We are very disappointed about Slough’s decision to drastically cut pay for foster carers. While we acknowledge the council has made an important compromise, in the longer term nothing has changed. This is still bad news.

“Those who foster for Slough were required to give up other jobs to become foster carers and now their household income will be slashed while their outgoings remain the same. They are still being required to carry out the same tasks but on far less pay. How many directors of children’s services would continue to do their jobs with a cut in salary like this?

“Councillors are the corporate parents for children in their care, and should make decisions affecting these children as if they were their own. By hitting household income Slough councillors have let their children down.”

But councillor Natasa Pantelic, the council’s commissioner for education and children said the authority remains one of the more generous councils in the area.

 “The reduction in fees was proposed to deal with the unprecedented cuts passed down to us by the government, nonetheless, we believe that reducing the fees to a sustainable level, in line with many other authorities, is a fairer deal for all of the town’s residents,” she said. “Following discussion with foster carers we wanted to ensure that no child in a current placement would be disadvantaged because their carer’s fee was reduced, and carers agreed that £300 represented a fair deal.”

 She added that maintenance payments for foster carers will remain unchanged.

“As part of the new package of foster fees, we will be giving some foster carers the freedom to work whereas this was previously discouraged by the authority. This way, foster carers can supplement their income from the authority with additional paid employment, and we believe that this policy change, combined with the new scheme of allowances, represents a fair deal for foster carers,” Pantelic said.