Foster Care Ireland (FCI) with the support of the CFA pays a basic maintenance allowance to foster parents and families. This allowance and FCI’s support structures assist the child, the carers and the family while fostering. FCI and the CFA provide training for the foster carer and immediate family, on-going liaison with social workers, insurance and a medical card for the child in foster care.
Allowances payable are as follows:
- Under 12 years old – euro 325 per child per week
- Over 12 years old – euro 352 per child per week
An allowance may be paid between the ages of 18 and 21 where the child is still with the family and in full time education. This allowance is known as an After Care Allowance. An Increase for a Child Dependant may also be payable.
Payment of Child Benefit to a foster parent will depend on whether or not the child has been placed in care voluntarily or by virtue of a care order:
- Where a child is placed in voluntary care and the mother has not abandoned or deserted the child and is contributing to the child’s support, Child Benefit may continue to be paid to the mother for the first 6 months that the child is in foster care and transferred to the foster mother from the seventh month
- Where a child is placed in voluntary care and the birth mother is not contributing to the child’s support, Child Benefit is paid to the foster mother from the month after the child was placed with her
- Where a child is placed in care subject to a court order, Child Benefit is paid to the foster mother from the month after the child was placed with them.
Foster parents should submit their Child Benefit claim immediately after a child is placed in their care.
This allowance does not effect tax or state benefits. Foster care allowances are not taken into account in the means test for social welfare payments and are not taxable. The Child and Family Agency has a policy on the appropriate use of the fostering allowance.
In addition to the foster care allowance other supports include:
- Regular home visits and telephone contact from your assigned fostering link worker;
- Each child in your care has a social worker who visits the child and maintains a link with the child’s birth family;
- You will be able to apply for child benefit for each child in your care;
- Support from your public health nurse if you are caring for a pre-school child;
- A comprehensive training programme pre and post approval;
- A year’s free membership to the Irish Foster Care Association; and
- Each child in foster care will have their own medical card.