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Pocket money

You should use part of your basic maintenance allowance to give your foster child pocket money. You should pay them pocket money from the first week they come into your care.

Pocket money should be discussed at the placement planning meeting, and recorded in the placement plan.

What pocket money is for

Children and young people can choose what to spend their pocket money on, but you should encourage them to save a small amount in their long-term savings each week or month.

You should use your basic maintenance allowance to buy them basics like toiletries, clothing and mobile phone top-ups, but they can use their pocket money to buy extras if they want to.

How much pocket money to give

The minimum amount of pocket money you should give depends on the child's age:

  • Under 5 years-old — no minimum amount
  • 5 to 11 years old — £5 per week
  • 11 to 15 years old — £8 per week
  • 16 or 17 years old — £10 per week

Your foster child will start getting a personal allowance when they are aged 16 or over and have completed year 11. At this point, you will stop giving them pocket money.

Safeguarding concerns and pocket money

It may not be appropriate to give your foster child pocket money directly if there are safeguarding concerns. For example, concerns that the child might use the money to buy drugs or be at risk of financial abuse.

If giving pocket money directly to your foster child would put them at risk, you must discuss these concerns with the child's social worker. They will work with you to find an alternative arrangement to give the child access to money without putting them at risk. This alternative arrangement will be recorded in the child's care plan.

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