Dear Hounslow Borough Council,

Please supply me with the following information:

1. The amounts paid to NON-RELATED Foster Carers minus the Salaried Element. I.e. the maintenance element. (Weekly per child please)

2. The amount paid to NON-RELATED Foster Carers who are caring for disabled children minus the salaried element, i.e. the maintenance element. (Weekly per child please)

3. The amount paid to RELATED Foster Carers who are caring for friends and relative children. (Weekly per child please)

4. The amount paid to RELATED Foster Carers who are caring for disabled children. (Weekly per child please)

5. The Maximum allowance made to Special Guardians who are caring for Friends and Family's Children. (Weekly per child please)

6. The Maximum allowance made to Special Guardians who are caring for a disabled child. (Weekly per child please)

7. The means test used on Special Guardians which is completed during the assessment process and on subsequent renewals. (Please attach a copy of the form please)

Yours faithfully,


Melanie Lang, Hounslow Borough Council

2 Attachments

Dear Paula,

Please see attached letter and document in relation to your recent FOI request.

Melanie Lang
CSLL Information Services Manager
Children's Services and Lifelong Learning
London Borough of Hounslow
Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow, TW3 4DN
T: 0208 583 2641
F: 0208 583 2613
E: [email address] (non-secure)
[email address] (secure)
FOI: [Hounslow Borough Council request email]

show quoted sections

Avril Williams left an annotation ()


First, Carers who are relatives of the 'cared for child' DON'T RECEIVE SALARIES.

Second, Carers who are relatives of the 'cared for child' but NOT the birth parents, tend to receive the same Child Maintenance Allowances as Adoptive Parents. The Amounts paid are linked to Foster Child Maintenace Rates but whilst Foster Parents receive the maximum Foster Child Maintenance Allowances REGARDLESS OF THEIR INCOMES, Adoptive Parents and Related Carers must undergo means-tests to see whether they merit financial help, and if so, how much.

Based on the information that it gave me in December 2010, Hounslow Council is one of the few Councils that DOESN'T give Foster Parents EXTRA money for Birthdays, Holidays and School Uniform, (I don't know about its policy on Christmas Allowances). On the other hand its rates are high. Adoptive Parents and Relatives of the 'cared for' child DON'T get extra money for Christmas, Holidays and Birthdays from any Council.

However Adoption Allowances are IGNORED for tax-credit purposes. This means that low income Adoptive Parents who receive Adoption Allowances ALSO receive tax credits whilst low income BIRTH PARENTS in exactly the same situation ONLY receive Tax Credits. I've yet to discover what the situation is in respect of non-related Carers.

In summary - Foster Parents receive the MOST help with the cost of Child Maintenance whilst LOW INCOME BIRTH PARENTS RECEIVE THE LEAST. The State expects Birth Parents to manage on FAR, FAR less money than even the lowest paying County is paying substitute parents, (I've researched over 90 Councils' Foster Child Maintenance Allowances.) Which is why over the last 12 years FOOD BANKS have been springing up across England and Wales.

In December 2010 Hounslow's able-bodied Foster Child Mainteance Allowances were £289.50/week for 0-10 year olds, and £363.40/week for 11-18 year olds.

A Williams

Paula left an annotation ()

Thank you for your comments... I am fully aware that relatives caring for children classed as LAC (Local Authority Care) do not recieve any salaried element in their payments which is why I asked for the sums not to include the salaried element.

As a Kinship Carer myself who is bringing up a disabled child under a Special Guardianship Order I can assure you that I receive no where near any of these stated figures! The reason I applied for this FOI was to actually see the correct figures and then address the issues that I have with this LA whilst fully armed with the facts. That will be another battle that I have to fight for my little boy. One of many faced by him and myself on a daily basis. If I had given birth to him then he would not be suffering from the terrible damage done to him through his birth mother's love of drugs and alcohol Unfortunatly I do not have a magic wand to change that so I have to try and get him help the best way I can.

I have many friends who are also in the same posistion as me, left to pick up the pieces when members of our family give birth to children who they then can not or will not take care of for what ever reason.

Again many thanks for your comments, Kind regards.

claire left an annotation ()

Hi Avril,
I am an approved kinship carer for a Bradford MBC LAC and I would like to point out some inaccuracies in your annotation.
I quote, 'Adoptive Parents and Related Carers must undergo means-tests to see whether they merit financial help, and if so, how much'. This may be the case in Hounslow but I was not subject to a means assessment and currently recieve the child maintenance of £173.73 per week for a child aged 12. This is equivalent to the amount paid to Bradford MBC's foster carers to cover the costs of caring for the child. 'Stranger' Foster Carers also recieve an aditional payment , or salary, as they are employed by the council.

Moving on, 'Adoptive Parents and Relatives of the 'cared for' child DON'T get extra money for Christmas, Holidays and Birthdays from any Council.' I dispute this. Much to my suprise, I recieved an additional payment just prior to my child's birthday, equivalent to one weeks allowance and another payment equivalent to two weeks allowance for the holiday period.

You mentioned that you had researched over 90 LA's maintenance payments. I would be interested to see this research as it strikes me that there is an element of 'postcode lottery' in terms of support carers recieve. I would like to see allowances made to carers standardised throughout the country as I know many carers struggling in much worse financial situtations than I.

Thanks for taking the time to add your response, I hope you will re-consider, given the points I have made.
Best wishes,
Claire Thornber

Shelly left an annotation ()

Hi Avril,

Firstly I would like to say that I take great exception to you inferring that foster and F & F carers should either not get financial help or that they are not in need of it. I am also a Kinship carer, I run an online support group and the members on there could tell you tales that would make you feel really humble. If a parent is in such a poor financial position that it needs to resort to soup kitchens then surely the first thing to look at is, should you be producing children in the first place. I know of plenty of so called poverty stricken families in my area, they get all benefits and use the food banks etc, and it is their children dressed in designer gear with the latest phones and gadgets, they drive the poshest cars and have the biggest tv's, why, because they know how to play the system. F & F carers have little or no support either financially or practical and are invariably penalised for taking on the care of a related child, many have to give up their jobs, find themselves ostracised by family members and relationships break down. Before you judge others I suggest that you put yourself in our position, how would you deal with a child with FAS, or one with severe emotional needs, a child that has to deal with one or both parents dying. How would you answer all the questions. When you have experienced this first hand, then, and only then are you even remotely qualified to judge us, a lot of us are on the poverty line, living in overcrowded accommodation, the difference is that we do not qualify for the benefits that so called "normal" families do.

claire left an annotation ()

I should add, Avril, that while I recieve the maintenance allowance for my child, this has had an adverse affect on my claim for housing benefit, leaving us in a worse financial position than if she was my own child. I also could add that I never wanted my own children, the situation came about after the death of my sister in law who was herself a single parent. I was left with no choice if I wanted to keep my niece out of care. I have had to give up work to care for her as it is impossible to hold down a job with a kid with severe behavioural difficulties. Nobody in this situation wants anymore than they're legally entitled to.

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