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FOSTER carers have given a “cautious welcome” to a one per cent increase in fees but say concerns remain over plans for a tiered payment system.

Solihull Council’s children and young people committee approved the fee increase, as well as a two per cent rise in allowances, in-line with the Fostering Network recommendations, on Monday.

Solihull Council’s children and young people committee approved the fee increase, as well as a two per cent rise in allowances, in-line with the Fostering Network recommendations, on Monday.

Members also confirmed early plans for a fee restructure were being reviewed, after foster carers’ hit out at proposals to require many of Solihull’s 85 carer households to foster at least 75 per cent of the year, and take on additional training or lose £117.76 a week.

Speaking on behalf of Solihull Foster Carers’ Association, Matt Seaton said most carers would have found it impossible to carry out additional training.

“We do so much already,” he added. “I think a lot of carers have been encouraged to see the fee structure has remained in place for another year.

“The new proposals, we welcome with caution. We remain a little concerned about a tiered structure.

He said the group welcomed the increase in pay but said it still represented a pay cut in real terms.

Councillor Joe Tildesley, cabinet member for children and young people, told the carers they provided “fantastic value”.

“I wish I could pay you £10,000 a week,” he added. “I know you would like it to be more but I hope you accept that it is as good as it possibly can be.”

A council scrutiny Task and Finish group will present proposals for a new fee structure in September, with any changes to be introduced in April 2014.

 

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