When you make the life-changing decision to become a foster carer and welcome a child into your home, you take on significant new responsibilities. Providing round-the-clock care for a child who may have complex needs or suffered trauma is incredibly rewarding, but it can also be quite full-on at times, especially when it comes to your budget. That’s why it’s crucial for foster carers in the UK to receive adequate financial assistance. 


All approved foster carers who care for a child with a fostering agency or local authority receive a regular fostering allowance. This covers the day-to-day costs of looking after the child, including food, clothing, travel expenses, pocket money and leisure activities. 

The amount you receive depends on factors like the child’s age and level of need. Allowances are usually higher for teenagers and children with disabilities. Regional fostering allowances can vary across the UK but are guided by national recommended rates. You can use this fostering allowance calculator to determine how much you may be eligible for.

Fostering allowances are designed to enable families to provide caring homes while recognising their skills, time and experience. 

Additional Support

On top of standard allowances, additional financial assistance may be available in certain situations, such as:

  • Initial clothing allowance when a child moves in
  • Mileage expenses for transporting foster children
  • Respite care costs 
  • Special schooling if needed
  • One-off costs like furniture, electronics or holiday activities

Relief and Entitlements

Foster carers in the UK can also qualify for certain benefits and entitlements:

  • Council tax relief – up to 100% off your bill
  • Child benefit payments
  • Other means-tested benefits like Universal Credit
  • Free prescriptions, dental care, school meals and more

Foster carers are treated as self-employed for tax purposes. This results in substantial tax relief. You can earn up to £10,000 tax-free on fostering allowances. 

Grants and Charities

In addition to government and agency assistance, some charities and organisations provide grants to support foster children and families. These can help cover exceptional costs like:

  • Driving lessons for teenagers
  • Educational trips, events or equipment
  • Therapeutic equipment and services
  • Laptops, tablets or smartphones
  • Holiday grants

Various charities in the UK provide such financial aid for foster children in need. Grants are often small, from £100 to £500, but can make a real difference. Speak to your supervising social worker or fostering agency about available charity grants you can apply for. They may even be able to provide application assistance. 

Making it Work Financially

Becoming a foster carer is not about profit. However, allowances, benefits and tax relief are designed to cover costs and minimise the financial impact on your household. 

With adequate support in place, most foster carers are able to balance their finances successfully. Some do choose to work part-time if feasible. The priority is ensuring you can provide consistent care with flexibility for the child’s needs. 

While rewarding, fostering comes with real demands on your time, emotions and resources. Financial assistance helps minimise the strain, so you can focus on supporting and caring for your foster child.