What consideration has the Welsh Government given to revising the national minimum allowances for foster care to address the shortage of foster carers in Wales?
The Welsh Government recognises that foster carers play a crucial role in the provision of care and support for some of our most vulnerable children in our society. The dedication and commitment our foster carers bring to the role is hugely significant in promoting the wellbeing of the children and young people in their care, thus helping them to thrive.
The Welsh Government introduced the National Minimum Allowance for Foster Carers on 1 April 2011 and made a commitment to review the rates of allowance on a three yearly cycle. In January 2023 the Welsh Government issued a letter to the fostering sector recommending the National Minimum Allowance rates for Foster Carers in Wales increase by 5.5% between 1st April 2023 – 31st March 2024, in line with the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts for growth in Consumer Price Inflation.
We have set out an ambitious programme of reform for children’s services in Wales. Over the course of this Senedd term, we will be working to radically reform children’s services in Wales, to ensure they deliver the best possible outcomes for children who are in care.
Part of this work will involve looking at all payments foster carers receive. To support this work, the Welsh Government commissioned a comprehensive review of the National Minimum Allowance, which is the basic core allowance that foster carers receive to cover the costs involved in looking after the children in their care. It is intended this will set a benchmark for payment rates to all foster carers and the review included looking at the actual costs associated with caring for a child, and the impact on a foster family’s ability to earn or meet the needs of all children within the house. We are currently considering the findings from the review in order to determine future payment rates and structures.