Changes to fostering could save £200,000
Bringing children in foster and residential care back under the wing of Powys County Council could see a saving of more than £200,000 a year, it has been claimed.
The council’s cabinet made the claim since looking at improvements to the service that in turn could help bring the department’s financial issues under control.
Portfolio holder for children’s service, Rachel Powell, speaking at the cabinet meeting, said: “The aim really is to demonstrate how we are planning to increase the recruitment of foster carers so that we can accommodate all young people and all of their needs who are looked after by the authority.”
“It also complies with our closer to home work plan.”
She added that accommodating a child’s needs was also the “best method financially for the council overall”.
Head of children’s service Jan Coles said: “We can’t underestimate the value of foster carers to the authority in terms of the importance it means for children, to provide a family environment close to home.
“And they can maintain their education and links. The right thing for the child is normally the least expensive for the council and this is an example of that.”
Portfolio holder for economy and planning, councillor Martin Weale, added: “It costs us £835 to have a company basically as foster parents, and we’re paying £360.
“I just like to know how much they are paying for their foster parents. We can match that so we’d get more foster parents in house, which would save us more money.”
Ms Coles replied: “There are dozens of IFA (independent foster agencies) who pay different rates to foster carers.
“We are targeting foster carers in Powys who are currently employed with IFAs.
“We’ve only just started the process and two families have come over.”
The council currently has 41 children placed with IFAs at a cost of £831 a week. Nine of the placements cost more than £1,000 a week. The cost of a child placed with council foster carers is about £360 a week.