Hounslow foster carers who look after vulnerable children and young people are being offered a cut on their council tax payments.
Published: Friday, 29th June 2018
From 1 April 2018, all foster carers approved by the London Borough of Hounslow will be reimbursed for the amount of council tax paid for each day one or more children are placed in their care. This applies equally to those Hounslow approved carers living in or outside the borough
It will mean a saving up to £1,462 per year (for a Band D property) for the 110 households who currently foster for Hounslow.
The change will begin immediately for newly recruited Hounslow foster carers, and is being rolled out to current carers effective from April 2018.
Cllr Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Youth Services, Hounslow Council said:
“Our foster carers do such an invaluable and rewarding job taking care of Hounslow’s vulnerable children.
“As a council we are determined to support foster carers in every way we can and we are so grateful for all they do for our children and young people and all the support they give each other.
“We really need more foster carers to come forward and work for us, and I believe this additional financial assistance will encourage families who want to foster but are worried about the costs that come with looking after a young person.”
This financial incentive marks a significant step forward in improving the support available for foster families in Hounslow.
People foster for a number of reasons but overwhelmingly it’s because they want to make a difference to a child’s life.
A foster carer provides a home for children or young people who are temporarily unable, for a range of reasons, to live with their own family.
Fostering helps reduce the pressures on families, allowing time for complications to be sorted out so that children can return home.
As part of this incentive, the council has also agreed to pay council tax for any Hounslow care leaver under the age of 21. This applies to those Hounslow care leaving young people whether living in or outside the borough. It starts with any council tax due after 1 April 2018, and will continue until their 21st birthday.
When a young person leaves care and moves into independent accommodation, they begin to manage their own budget fully for the first time. Many find themselves challenged with independence, continuing education or seeking employment, as well as managing their personal finances and paying household bills for the first time - often without the support of family or previous financial education to help them navigate this.
Cllr Bruce, said:
“ Young people who move into independence much earlier than their peers are much more likely to experience debt difficulties. The exemption for our care leavers is part of an overall strategy to improve the outcomes for young people so that they are more able to participate positively in the local community.
" There are children and young people in Hounslow who need foster carers. We’re looking for more people to become foster carers for children and young people in our care, especially from a diverse range of ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds."
Hounslow foster carers receive full training, with the support of specialist and experienced officers. If you are interested, the council’s fostering team would like to hear from you, and would be very happy to have an informal chat and discussion.
What matters most, is that you're the right family or person for the children in need.
To find out more, call 0800 731 8558 for an informal chat or visit www.hounslow.gov.uk/fostering