Mayor Joe Anderson says the city needs more people to help care for vulnerable children
Liverpool foster carers are to have their council tax waived under a new scheme planned by mayor Joe Anderson to encourage more recruits.
The move – which would save families more than £1,000 a year – is intended to boost the numbers of carers and help the council drive down the cost of looking after children with no homes.
The innovative move, which is set to come into effect from the new council tax year in April, is part of a range of incentives to try to recruit another 200-300 foster carers in the city.
The council will also offer “lifestyle passes” giving foster carers free access to city gyms and other facilities, the Mayor said, in addition to an allowances to cover the costs of fostering.
The move was welcomed by John Simmons from the adoption and fostering specialist children’s charity, Coram.
He said: “These children live some of the most uncertain lives you can imagine, they are a very vulnerable group.
“The incentives will get people to think about fostering. Liverpool will want to encourage as wide a group of people to think about fostering, so things like council tax and other incentives can be part of that offer – but the primary motivation must be the care of the children.”
Mayor Anderson said potential foster carers will undergo full and proper checks and will receive training from the council before they can look after children.
He said: “We have got huge costs of providing support to fostering children and using outside agencies to place children away from the city because there are not enough here.
“One of the things I’m trying to do is incentivise our own parents to support us in looking after children who need support and help in difficult circumstances.
“This is something positive and innovative.”
In 2014, the council introduced the ‘Payment for Skills’ scheme giving the city’s team of 300 foster carers a professional fee of up to £444 per week. That money was in addition to weekly age-related allowances of up to £203.75 per child.
Liverpool has around 150 more looked-after children than it had five years ago, and the total number now stands at around 1,000.
Mayor Anderson said: “This is my idea to try and help those within the city to help young people who need support – and this will also help the city at the same time.”
People interested in fostering can visit the Fostering Liverpool website to find out more or call the recruitment line on 0151 515 0000.
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