Increased allowances to ensure the county council can recruit skilled and experienced fostering and adoption panel members are set to be introduced.
Panels play a vital role in the fostering and adoption process. They make recommendations to ensure children are matched with the right foster carers or adoptive parents and monitor care to ensure children and young people are being given the best support.
Increasing allowances will help to ensure panels have members and chairs from diverse backgrounds with the right skills and experience for these important roles.
Panel chairs are currently paid £450 per meeting and the proposal is to increase this to £500. Panel members are currently paid £90 per meeting, and this is set to increase to £120.
These new fees have been set after researching the allowances offered by similar councils and independent fostering agencies.
Lancashire County Council’s cabinet will consider the new fees on Thursday 7 July.
County Councillor Cosima Towneley, cabinet member for children and families, said: “These panels have an absolutely crucial role to play in ensuring children and young people have the best start in life and through into adulthood. The allowances have not been revisited for several years and it is crucial to attract and keep members who have specialist knowledge in the field.
“The approval of carers and adopters, matching of children to families and assessment of the continued ability of carers to meet the complex needs of children and young people are critical tasks.
“Many other local authorities and agencies have reviewed their offer and we need to keep pace with both allowances and working practices.”
New ‘Staying Put’ arrangements are also set to be introduced. These will ensure financial support for people who have been foster carers remains in place for the first year in the event a young person continues to live with them after the foster placement has ended.
County Councillor Towneley added: “Many young people stay with carers who have fostered them after they turn 18. They are family and it is important these ties are nurtured.
“The reviewed financial arrangements ensure carers and those being cared for have continuity in the familiar family setting, so that support for each young person can continue into adulthood.”
The full agenda for Lancashire County Council’s cabinet meeting on Thursday 7 July can be viewed here: Agenda for Cabinet on Thursday, 7th July, 2022, 2.00 pm (lancashire.gov.uk)
Select the link to read the cabinet report on Allowances to Fostering and Adoption Panel Chairs and Members