Foster carers receive weekly allowances, which are payments to help meet the needs for the child they take care of. The foster care allowance for children younger than 12 years is EUR325 per week, while the weekly allowance for children 12 years and older is EUR352 per semaine. It is paid in relation to the child. The allowance does not count as a source of income for social welfare purposes and is therefore not subject to tax.
Tusla is able to provide additional financial support for foster carers, through enhanced or additional payments, if required.
Additional payments are any payments made to foster carers that go beyond the standard rate for the child’s fostering allowance. Children and young people may require additional support beyond the standardised fostering allowance. Additional payments are only allowed if the Tusla area manager has authorized it. Every application for an extra payment must be accompanied with supporting documentation that demonstrates the need.
When a foster child’s financial needs are more serious, enhanced allowances can be granted to foster carers. Children aged between 0-18 may have a maximum weekly allowance of double. This is if the child requires significant care that goes beyond the needs of the other foster children. Children with severe special needs may be eligible. They will need a high degree of personal care and supervision. These children may be eligible for an enhanced allowance to assist foster carers in caring for them.
Foster care allowances are for the benefit and in respect of foster children. They must be used daily to pay for their care. To be eligible for an enhanced allowance, the assessing Social Worker must prove that the standard fostering allowance does insufficiently cover the cost of caring to the child.
After the submission of documentation and an assessment, the Area Manager must accept a request to enhance supports. The submission must include a review plan for the enhanced allowance.
Foster carers get a range of targeted supports in order to continue to be valued and recognized as part of alternative care systems. These support elements include access to training, support group meetings, and a link Social Worker. Each child in care will also receive a social worker. If the child’s care plan includes respite, they may arrange for it.
Foster carers need to have a pre-assessment and continue training to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to provide quality care. Tusla provides training for foster carers’ relatives separately, in recognition of the special dynamics and individual nature of family care. Tusla also finances the Irish Foster Care Association. They offer a variety of support services to carers including advocacy, mediation, training, and a phone advice service.
Tusla provides support to foster carers, when they offer home and care to children with special needs.
Tusla stated that they have been in contact with foster carer’s recently. Foster carers raised concerns about the need to review the foster care allowance in light inflation and increased social welfare allowances. Tusla currently prepares a paper on the matter.
Officials from the Department continue to monitor the rate of the foster care allowance. At the moment, there is no plan for changing it. However, the Department is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the Child Care Act and will review foster care arrangements as a part of this review.