Council tax scrapped for Liverpool City Council foster carers
Foster carers working directly for Liverpool City Council will no longer have to pay council tax.
The council’s Cabinet has today approved plans to exempt all ‘in house’ foster carers who work for the authority, starting from April 2016.
It will mean a saving of at least £1,100 per year for the 290 households who currently foster one or more child and is part of a wider drive to encourage more people to become foster carers.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “Taking in someone else’s child is life changing, both for the foster carer and the young person, so it is absolutely right and proper that we do everything we can to support them.
“This is our way of saying thank you to our foster carers and recognising the amazing work that they do to protect and support some of the city’s most vulnerable young people.
“We really need more foster carers to come forward and work for us, and I believe this scheme will encourage families who want to foster but are worried about the costs that come with looking after a young person.
“The cost of the scheme will be far outweighed by the savings that we will make by recruiting more carers and placing more of the city’s children with them, rather than with private foster agencies or in residential homes outside of the city that are far more costly.”
Foster carers that live outside of the city’s boundary will be given an annual payment equivalent to the cost of their council tax.
Sue Boddison, a Liverpool city council foster carer who supports other foster carers said: “Many families will benefit from not having to pay the council tax. That money could then be used to improve the quality of life for our looked after children such as assisting them to go on family holidays, to provide extra treats and enhance their well being.”
It is estimated that the scheme will cost around £372,000 to fund in 2016/17, but analysis shows that £500,000 will be saved if the policy leads to the recruitment of 10 additional foster carers to replace high cost placements in residential homes and with foster care agencies.
Liverpool has over 150 more looked-after children than it had five years ago, and the number now stands at around 1,000. The rise is due to a greater level of awareness of the issue of child neglect and abuse following the Baby Peter case in Haringey, and is reflected across the country.
Foster carers need to be aged over 21, but there is no upper age limit. They can be single, married or co-habiting, straight or gay.