More support approved as council calls for foster carers

Increase in foster payments to help recruit more carers in Fife

As part of the drive to bolster the recruitment and retention of foster carers, Fife Council's Cabinet committee members today approved a 3% increase in the fees paid to both foster carers and supported lodging carers today, 6 June, 2024.

Foster carers play a critical role in providing a secure and stable environment for Fife's looked-after children and young people, allowing them to grow in confidence and achieve their potential. Foster carer recruitment is a significant challenge both locally and nationally, and the increased fee increase aims to help positively impact the recruitment and retention of foster carers.

This decision positions Fife among the highest-paying councils for foster care in Scotland.

Foster carer retirals and reduced enquiries into fostering has led to fewer new placements for children.

James Ross, Head of Children & Families & Criminal Justice, Fife Council, said: “We are incredibly proud of our carers, who dedicate their time and skills to support our children and young people. We urgently need new foster carers to provide loving, safe, and supportive homes.

“We know that money it is something people need to think about when they consider fostering and it is vital that we attract and retain the best people to support our local children.

“The biggest benefit of this increase is that we will be able to encourage more local people to care for our young people to enable them to stay in their local communities.

“Foster carers come in all shapes and sizes – older couples whose children have grown up, young families and single people of all ages. Fostering genuinely gives people the opportunity to transform lives for the better. We really hope that more people will come forward to find out more about the opportunities available to give our young people the best chance of success in life.”

The council also hosts regular events and information sessions to promote fostering locally.

Foster carer payments consist of two components: a fee based on skills and experience, and a maintenance allowance per child, set by the Scottish Government. The current weekly allowances (set to increase following the Cabinet decision) for foster carers range from a minimum of £279.55 to a maximum of £613.22, with an additional flat rate of £50 per week for each additional child. Age-related weekly maintenance allowances are £168.31 for children aged 0-4 years, £195.81 for ages 5-15 years, and £268.41 for ages 16-18 years. Fife Council foster carers also receive seven additional weeks of maintenance payments annually for birthdays, holidays, and other occasions.

The allowance increase is also designed to have more children in Fife Council foster care, rather than that provided by external agencies, which is more expensive. By continuing to lower our dependence on the use of external fostering provisions the council can make a significant long term budget saving.

Fife Council has over 180 foster carers who look after around 280 children, of all ages. More foster carers are needed to meet the needs of Fife’s children as demand often exceeds the number of carers available.

For more information on becoming a foster carer, please visit Fife Council’s dedicated website at or contact the Family Placement Service Fostering Team, tel: 01383 602235.

A 3% increase has also been applied to the fees for supported lodgings carers, providing an alternative option for young people who have been looked after but are seeking to develop some level of independence.