National allowance recommended for kinship and foster carers

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Ministers should consider introducing a national recommended allowance for kinship and foster carers, a review has found.

The recommendation is one of 12 made in a report by the National Care Allowances Review Group.

The Scottish Government set up the group to carry out of a review of allowances paid.

Chairwoman Iona Colvin, chief social work adviser to the Government, said the nine-month review involved 1,000 young people, foster and kinship carers, adopters and practitioners.

The Scottish Recommended Allowance would help ensure greater consistency for young people in foster and kinship care, the group said.

Further recommendations include ensuring guidance on allowances for foster and kinship carers is clear and easily available.

Adoptive agencies are recommended to ensure prospective adopters are told about the allowance and how to apply for it, as early as possible.

Ministers are also urged to consider measures to mitigate the impact of the Universal Credit benefit reform on kinship families, which disregards the child element of the benefit for a looked after and accommodated child.

The group recommends local authorities have a clear approach for decisions about additional or exceptional allowances for foster carers.

Minister for children and young people Maree Todd said she looks forward to working with local government on agreements to put the recommendations into action.

She said: “The support that foster and kinship carers receive makes a real difference for them and the children and young people they look after.

“Services and allowances are different across the country, and this welcome report highlights the importance of ensuring that transparent and accessible information, guidance and support is available for kinship and foster carers, regardless of where they live.”

Stephen McCabe, children and young people spokesman for local authority umbrella body Cosla, said action would be taken quickly to provide clear information.

He said Cosla will work with the Scottish Government to fully consider the recommendations.

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