Some Bristol residents are currently having to choose between heating their homes and putting food in their cupboards. The impact of the current cost of living crisis is being felt right across the city.
Our foster carers are amazing, providing a safe and nurturing home to children in Bristol – sadly, we know the cost of living crisis is causing further anxieties for them on top of the challenges they already face.
In April we raised the allowances and fees for our foster carers, who now receive up to £458 a week for each child they look after as well as extra for birthdays and holidays.
However, with inflation and interest rates going up, we knew we wanted and needed to do more.
We are providing foster carers with a one-off payment of £400 in the lead up to Christmas, to give them a helping hand going into the festive period.
We hope this will take some of the financial pressure off, while we explore more ways to further support our amazing foster carers.
Welcome payment to new foster carers
The main reason carers decide to start fostering, is because they care about and want to help children in Bristol.
Deciding to open your home to a child, or children, who need help is a huge decision to make. Financial planning is an essential part of this process.
Here in Bristol we desperately need more people to come forward to foster, helping us to keep children that need our support close to their communities, schools and people important to them.
As an added incentive, we have agreed a grant of £500 for all our new foster carers when they start caring for their first child, as a welcome to the council’s fostering community.
We understand how tight household budgets are, especially for carers. We hope this will encourage more people to consider starting their fostering journey with us.
In light of Bristol City Council’s budget consultation, highlighting the need to reduce our costs and generate more income, some people might be asking if now is the right time to offer new and existing foster carers more money.
The answer is yes. Foster carers play a vital role in our city, caring for children when their own parents or family are unable to.
If fostering becomes unaffordable, we run the risk of losing our valued foster carers and letting children down who are in need of our support.
If we can’t place children with our own foster carers, we need to use more expensive, independent fostering agencies that often place children outside the city.
Our foster carers also have access to a raft of support, training and development, and are part of a wider network of local carers, giving them the right skills and support to be able to care for the children we place with them.
We are incredibly proud of all our foster carers and so grateful for all they do. We wish them and their families a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
You can find out more about fostering with the council on our Fostering Bristol website where you can make an enquiry and order an information pack. You can also call our fostering team to have an informal chat by calling 0117 353 4200.
If you are struggling with the cost of living, visit www.bristol.gov.uk/costofliving for advice and guidance. You can also call the We Are Bristol helpline for free on 0800 694 0184, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm.
You can give your views on our budget proposal until midnight on Friday 23 December 2022 online via the council’s website. To request an alternative format, contact our Consultation and Engagement Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0117 922 2848.