The 'Cost of Fostering' - cost-of-living campaign

The Fostering Network is calling on governments across the UK to provide urgent funding to cover the cost of fostering so children and young people do not miss out. 

The issue

Foster families are currently receiving much less than they need to support the children and young people in their care to achieve their best possible outcomes. The Fostering Network has campaigned for foster care allowances over the course of its nearly 50-year history.

The current national minimum allowances (NMAs) set by governments across the UK are not enough. The rates are based on out-of-date research, have not been keeping pace with inflation and are not aspirational for our young people. 

There is a great variation in the level of financial support being provided for children in foster care locally which is resulting in inequality. Many foster carers have to dip into their own pockets to cover the costs of caring and this is not acceptable. This has been an issue for foster carers for many years, well before the current cost-of-living crisis. 

Insufficient allowances are putting unnecessary pressure on fostering households. As the number of children entering care continues to rise, it is essential that we support foster carers and ensure there are the right number with the range of skills and knowledge to meet the needs of the children who need them most. 

The Government are currently failing children in care, as well as the foster carers who provide them with a loving, secure and nurturing home.   

The solution: a fairer funding framework

Our #CostofFostering campaign is calling for a fairer funding framework that covers the full costs of caring for a child in foster care and supports them to thrive.  

Our calculations, supported by Pro Bono Economics, are based on the Minimum Income Standard for the United Kingdom and Nina Oldfield's ‘The Adequacy of Foster Care Allowances’, which identifies the additional costs of caring for a child in foster care.  

The Fostering Network’s new 2023/4 recommended rates are:  

  • £227 per week to raise a child in foster care aged 0-4 years 
  • £275 per week to raise a child in foster care aged 5-10 years  
  • £349 per week to raise a child in foster care aged over 11 years.  

The Fostering Network is calling on governments across the UK to:  

  • Significantly invest in the rates of fostering allowances to ensure they cover the full costs of caring for a child in foster care so they can thrive. 
  • Increase the upper age limit of the NMA to ensure that young people, while still living in a fostering household in post-18 arrangements, can access stability and support into adulthood. 

  • Regularly review their NMAs in line with annual inflation and other relevant factors. 

  • Expect all fostering services to adhere to nationally agreed allowances.  

  • Work with regulatory bodies for fostering in each nation of the UK to introduce systems to monitor compliance with the NMA, in line with current regulatory requirements, to ensure consistency for children, foster carers and potential future foster carers. 


Read our new report 

Find out more about our allowances research and our new rates for 2023- 24.

Read our two page briefing with our 2022-23 rates 

Two page cost of living briefing 2022

Join our campaigners email list

To keep updated on our cost-of-living campaign and find out how you can get involved, join our campaigners email list using the form below.

As well as hearing more about our cost-of-living campaign, you will also receive regular updates about our latest campaigns, what the policy and campaigns team have been up to and how you can get involved to help make vital change. 

Sign up here