The foster care allowance was increased for the last time on January 1, 2009. Foster carers receive a weekly allocation, which is a payment to cover the care of the child. The current foster care allowance is EUR325 per child under 12 years, and EUR352 for children aged 12 years or more. It is paid to the child in the name of the foster child. It is provided to help foster carers meet the child’s basic needs such as food, clothing, travel costs, education costs, hobbies, and other activities. The allowance is not taxed and is not considered a means of social welfare.
Tusla can provide financial assistance to foster carers if needed through enhanced or additional payments.
Additional payments refer to any payment that is made to foster carers beyond the standard rate of the allowance. These additional payments can be made to children or young adults who have special needs not covered by the standardised allowance for fostering.
Additional payments may only be made to children with special medical or educational needs, and only after authorisation from the Tusla Manager has been received. All additional payments must be supported by documentation.
If a child has a greater financial need, an enhanced allowance for foster carers is possible. If children are between 0-18 and require special care, a maximum of twice their weekly allowance can be paid. Children with special needs, such as children who require supervision and care at a high level, are eligible for this enhanced allowance. This is to help foster carers provide care for children with additional needs.
Foster care allowance must be used for the child’s daily needs.
It is intended to benefit the foster child. An enhanced allowance is available if the assessing social workers can prove that the standard allowance for foster care does not adequately cover the costs of the child’s care.
After an assessment of the child and supporting documentation, the Area Manager must certifiy a request for enhanced supports. An approval request for enhanced support must include a review arrangement for the enhanced allowance.
To ensure that foster carers continue to be valued as an integral part of the alternative system of care, they receive targeted support in addition to the foster-care allowance. The support package includes access to training and support group meetings, a link social work worker, and the allocation and supervision of a social worker for each child. If children are allowed to have respite care, it may be possible.
Tusla is sensitive to the needs of foster carers and their specific circumstances.
Foster carers are required to undergo a pre-assessment as well as ongoing training in order to be able to provide high-quality care. Tusla is sensitive to the needs of foster carers and their specific circumstances. Tusla also provides funding to the Irish Foster Care Association. This association offers support for carers through advocacy, mediation and training, as well as a telephone advice service.
Tusla’s foster care allowance is one component of the support Tusla provides carers when they provide a home and care for children who may have additional, or sometimes more significant, needs.
Tusla advised that they had recently met with foster carers as part of a consultation. Foster carers made it clear that they believe the foster care allowance should be reviewed to account for inflation and increases of social welfare allowances. Tusla is currently writing a paper about this topic.
Officials within the Department keep the rate for the foster care allowance under review. There are currently no plans to alter it. The Department is currently undergoing an extensive review of Child Care Act 1991. It will also examine foster care arrangements in this review.