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Foster care savings could reach £200,000

Created on 11/07/2019 @ 09:51
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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.

The council’s cabinet was looking at improvements to the service which could help bring the department’s financial issues under control.

Portfolio holder for children’s service, Rachel Powell, 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, within Powys. It also complies with our closer to homework plan.”

She added that by accommodating the 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, Cllr Martin Weale, said: “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 to invite them to come over.

“We’ve only just started the process and two families have come over.”

“We are currently reviewing the remuneration for foster carers and need to do it in line with a harmonisation across Wales that is taking place.”

Portfolio holder for highways, recycling and assets, Cllr Phyl Davies, reminded the cabinet that it was important to recognise the importance of current foster carers and asked for the recommendation to be changed to reflect this.

This was made so and the cabinet approved the improvement plan.

PCC has 41 children placed with Independent Fostering Agencies
The average cost is £831 a week
Nine of these placements cost more than £1,000 a week
The cost of a child placed with PCC foster carers is about £360 a week
Returning children to PCC foster carers would save £471 per child a week or £24,492 per child a year
37 are in care homes for children not run by PCC
This costs on average £3861
The most expensive costs £5950 and there are two of them
In total PCC spends £142, 878 a week
If all these children are brought back to PCC foster parents it is believed there would be a saving of £3501 per child per week or £182,052 per child per year

By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Service Reporter


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