Call for Highland Council to adopt new foster carer fee structure

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Highland Council is being urged to pay foster carers a fee for each child placed with them.

Lochaber MSP Kate Forbes has made the appeal in an attempt to open up additional places in the north of Scotland.

At present, the council only pays one fee to foster carers in Lochaber and elsewhere – regardless of the number of children they look after. It is thought most other local authorities pay a fee per-child, rather than per-carer.

The present practice increases the chances of siblings being separated.

A lack of foster carers in the Highlands means the local council currently pays more than £2m a year placing foster children outwith the area.

Ms Forbes said it was important to keep siblings together and that there are some foster parents in the Highlands who are registered to take several children but only currently take one.

‘Elsewhere in Scotland, councils pay foster parents a fee per child but in the Highlands they only pay a single fee irrespective of how many children are cared for,’ said Ms Forbes.

‘If we want to see parents take more than one child, keep families together and catch up with other local authorities, Highland Council should consider paying a fee per child.

‘People don’t foster because of the money, but it can make the difference of them continuing or not.’