HUNDREDS of foster and kinship carers across Dumfries and Galloway are to receive an increase in weekly payments to support looking after children.
They will receive an uplift of anywhere between £11 and £47 per week, depending on the age of the child – and payments will be backdated to April this year.
This comes after the Scottish Government fulfilled its commitment to setting a standard national allowance for foster and kinship carers across the country, to support the care of children and young people.
A report on the matter, due to be tabled at the council’s social work committee next week, reads: “The introduction of the Scottish Recommended Allowance means every eligible foster and kinship carer will receive this standard weekly rate, no matter where they live in Scotland.
“Allowances are designed to help ensure care experienced children and young people have the same experiences and opportunities as their peers, and provides financial support for clothing, pocket-money, hobbies, school trips and other costs associated with caring for children and young people.
“This new national allowance will make a significant difference to the daily lives of some of the most vulnerable children and young people in Scotland and is particularly welcome in the current context of the cost-of-living crisis and the additional pressures this has caused.”
The Scottish Government is splitting £16m between councils to fund the payments, with this region expected to receive around £630,000. However, this will leave a shortfall of around £150,000, which Dumfries and Galloway Council will have to find from its own budget.
The weekly allowance for foster and kinship carers in Dumfries and Galloway Council currently provides is: Ages 0-4 – £130.34; 5-10 – £148.47; 11-15 – £184.80; 16 and over – £224.77.
The new set weekly allowance, backdated to April 1, 2023, is: Ages 0-4 – £168.31 (29 percent increase); 5-10 – £195.81 (31 percent increase); 11-15 – £195.81 (5.9 percent increase); 16 and over – £268.41 (19 percent increase).
The council report states: “As of September 15, 2023, children and families social work (department) are working with 92 children and young people in foster care, and 323 children and young people in kinship care.
“They also have 109 children who are looked after at home on a legal order, and 45 children on the Child Protection Register, who could at any time, require an alternative place to live.
“Therefore, these numbers are constantly fluctuating.”