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Working Out a Budget to Care for Your Foster Child

As a foster parent, you are determined to do the very best for the child in your care. With a budget of £22,393 - £28,078 a year, if you are looking after a child in Scotland, you need to factor in several vital aspects. For starters, you may have left your job to be a foster parent full-time. Your allowance will probably include a professional fee, which is your personal income for taking on this responsibility. In addition, the amount will specify a sum that is to be used for your foster child’s needs. You may have a working spouse who takes care of your house mortgage and general household expenses, but you still need a budget to plan for what the child needs and for your incidentals and other expenses.


Keep Two Separate Budgets

With the foster agency specifying a certain amount of money paid to you to be allocated to child care, the responsible approach is to keep this separate from the amount you are being paid as a professional fee. Remember that you will also be required to complete an income tax form as a self-employed person.

Working Out a Budget for a Foster Child

The allowance for a foster child needs to cover their basic needs for food, drink, toiletries, and clothing. Your foster carer pay also needs to extend to paying for hobbies and activities, setting aside something for monthly pocket money and other aspects such as haircuts, outfits for special occasions, and items required for school projects. If you have not had any children of your own, this may seem overwhelming and unexpected expenses may crop up and catch you off guard. But take it one step at a time and follow a plan.

What Can Your Professional Fee Cover?

Compare your expenses to when you were working in a regular job. You would have covered your clothing requirements, hair treatments, make-up, personal hobbies, snacks, eating out, trips, fuel, and running your car. You should still be able to pay for these items as a foster parent. However, you have a duty to make sure that all of the child’s needs are covered.

What Does a Foster Child Need?

If you already have a food budget covered by your partner’s full-time income, you will not spend very much more. But you do need to budget for age-appropriate foods, such as bottles, infant formula, sterilising solution, and teething gel. This is additional to what your partner would have paid for, and don’t forget nappies and baby clothes. Infants grow rapidly and need new clothes every few months as they outgrow the old ones. 

An older child needs a healthy diet with daily fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, whole grains, and healthy fats. Here are the NHS guidelines for two-year-olds. Once your foster child starts school, he/she will need nutritious school lunches and uniforms. The child will also need special clothing for sports, gym, and extracurricular activities.

Incidentals for Foster Children

A foster child should receive an age-appropriate amount of pocket money every month and be taught how to budget. You should encourage your foster child to take up a hobby and you will need to allow for this in your budget. Family trips, holidays, and outings will also need to be planned for. 

Aim to keep a reserve fund for emergencies throughout the year and whatever is left in December can go towards the holidays. Don’t forget to contribute to this from you and your partner’s incomes as well.