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Council set to improve foster care pay in Highlands

By Gavin Musgrove

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Highland councillors will be asked to approve a proposal to substantially increase the payment to foster carers in the region.

The new payment proposal recognises the valuable role of foster carers in providing a home and care for the most vulnerable children within their Highland community.

The current payment structure for fees paid to foster carers comprises a weekly fee per household, irrespective of the number of children they have placed in their care.

The new proposal to be voted on at council headquarters on Monday would pay a fee per child and increase the fee by 20 per cent from January 1, 2020.

Highland Council will consider enhanced payments for foster carers this Monday.
Highland Council will consider enhanced payments for foster carers this Monday.

A council spokeswoman said: "We currently have 112 children and young people in our foster care service.

"The investment of £500,000 in foster care would help to increase the number of available placements in Highland by up to 20, consequently reducing the need to purchase more expensive placements from the independent fostering sector.

"Foster care is key to the council being able to provide high quality care for children in their local communities at a very challenging time in their lives.

"Research demonstrates when children and young people receive good consistent care which is nurturing, long standing and where they can build relationships that make them feel loved, valued and accepted, this will enable better outcomes for them in the future and into adulthood."

The review of the fostering service is a project which seeks to retain more young people in the Highland area connected to their family and places they know, increase the number of children placed in our own foster care service or with family alternatives, reduce educational and social care spot-purchased placements and reduce spend on placements thereby making budgets more sustainable.

In the last year, 42 children have returned to the Highlands or been able to remain in area through the programme, avoiding costs of over £6 million.

Nine of these young people are now in family-based placements.

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