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Personal allowance for young people in foster care

Until your foster child completes year 11, you will give them pocket money. This will come from your basic maintenance allowance.

After they complete year 11

When the young person is 16 years old and has completed year 11, the amount of basic maintenance allowance you get will change. This change will normally happen in the September after they complete year 11.

At this point:

  • The young person will start to get a weekly personal allowance paid directly into their bank account
  • We will reduce the basic maintenance allowance you get by an amount equal to the amount of personal allowance the young person is now getting
  • You will stop giving them pocket money

The personal allowance helps young people move towards greater financial independence. How much personal allowance your foster child gets and what they're expected to pay for depends on their age and their ability to manage their own finances.

Standard personal allowance level

A young person's personal allowance will normally start at £30 per week. This should cover the cost of:

  • Socialising (mobile phone top ups, cinema tickets etc)
  • Clothing
  • Toiletries

As their foster carer, you will get £177 per week basic maintenance allowance. This should cover the cost of:

  • Accommodation
  • Utility bills
  • Transport
  • Food

Higher personal allowance level

The aim is for the young person's financial independence and personal allowance to grow as they get closer to 18 years old.

Ideally, by the time they are 17.5 years old their personal allowance will have increased to £61.05 per week. This should cover the cost of:

  • Socialising
  • Clothing
  • Toiletries
  • Activities
  • Transport
  • Food
  • A contribution towards accommodation and utility bills

As their foster carer, you will get £145.95 per week basic maintenance allowance. This should cover the cost of:

  • Accommodation
  • Utility bills

Reduced personal allowance level

It may not be appropriate for the young person to get the standard personal allowance. For example, if their social worker and/or personal advisor find significant evidence that:

  • The young person hasn't yet developed the skills necessary to manage their own finances
  • Giving the young person the standard personal allowance could put them at risk. For example, concerns that they might use the money to buy drugs or be at risk of financial abuse.

If getting the standard personal allowance is not in the young person's best interests, this must be explained to them. The reasons must be clearly written in their pathway plan. The decision must be reviewed a their statutory reviews, or sooner if appropriate.

They will get a reduced personal allowance instead. This will be £15 per week, and should cover the cost of socialising.

As their foster carer, you will get £192 per week basic maintenance allowance. This should cover:

  • Accommodation
  • Utility bills
  • Transport
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Activities

Young person in part-time or weekend employment

Young people are not expected to contribute any of the money they earn from part-time work towards their keep. This includes money they earn from working at weekends or during school holidays.

This is to encourage young people to develop a good work ethic and add to their long-term savings.

Young person in full time employment (except apprenticeships)

If the young person is in full-time employment:

  • We will reduce your basic maintenance allowance by £61.05 per week. This is because you will not be expected to provide the young person with pocket money, toiletries, bus fares etc.
  • The young person will be expected to give you some of their salary as a contribution towards their keep

This does not apply to young people who are doing apprenticeships.

How much they contribute depends on how much they earn. The calculation is based on:

  • Their net income up to £121.05 per week. Net income means their earnings after tax has been paid.
  • The minimum protected allowance, which is £61.05 per week

We calculate the young person's contribution as follows:

(Net earnings per week up to £121.05) - (£61.05 minimum protected allowance) ÷ 2 = young person's contribution to their keep.

Because earnings over £121.05 per week are not taken into account, the young person will never be expected to contribute more than £30 per week.

Young person seeking employment or unable to work due to ill health

The young person will get the £61.05 minimum protected allowance if they are unemployed because:

  • They are seeking employment
  • They are unable to work due to ill health and have been signed off by their doctor

If the young person is entitled to claim benefits, we will take these into account when calculating your basic maintenance allowance.

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