To help you find what you need on this page, we have included a list of links to the information. They are:

It's important to consider fostering for the right reasons.

Money should never be the driving force to fostering.

We want to recruit foster carers whose main reason for becoming a foster carer is they want to change a child’s life through positive parent and child interactions.

Our foster carers see fostering as a rewarding role which allows them to help young people develop and grow.

However, we recognise that income is often an important consideration for many families thinking about fostering.

This is because you must know you would be financially stable whilst fostering and supporting your family.

About our fees and allowances

We know that asking questions about money, especially when it involves children, can be uncomfortable.

We want to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

There is no single, set fostering fee.

The exact amount of fostering allowance you receive will vary depending on the:

  • number of children you foster
  • individual and complexities of each child or young person
  • type of fostering you choose.

Fostering with us offers you a variety of income-based fostering placements to suit your lifestyle and career options, whilst putting our children first.

Our rates and benefit packages are competitive.

We use a 4 level payment by ‘age band’ model where payments to foster carers are made up of 2 main elements:

  • maintenance allowance
  • reward fee.

Payments are made every 2 weeks in arrears.

We offer a fostering allowance which allows our foster carers to provide a stable environment for a child.

This means that fostering is a financially viable option for people across Medway.

Our fees bring us in line with fees paid by other local councils and independent fostering agencies (IFAs).

When you foster a child or young person, you'll get regular foster care payments (maintenance allowance) in the form of a non-taxable allowance.

The foster care payments you receive will contribute towards everything the child could need, for example:

  • their living costs
  • food
  • clothing
  • basic travel
  • toiletries
  • Christmas and birthday presents
  • days out.

The amount you receive in foster care payments usually depends on the type of placement you have.

Maintenance allowance

Maintenance allowance is a payment made to all approved foster carers to support the child and is allocated depending on the age of the child placed.

Age of child Maintenance allowance (per week per child)
0 to 4 years old £192
5 to 10 years old £214
11 to 15 years old £240
16 years old and over £283

Breakdown of maintenance allowance

This table below shows how the weekly maintenance allowance is broken down to meet the needs of the child.

Age of child Shopping (for example, toiletries) Clothing Transport Household Personal leisure Total
0 to 4 years old 25% (£48) 20% (£38) 25% (£48) 10% (£19) 20% (£39) 100% (£192)
5 to 10 years old 25% (£54) 20% (£43) 25% (£54) 10% (£21) 20% (£42) 100% (£214)
11 to 15 years old 25% (£60) 20% (£48) 25% (£60) 10% (£24) 20% (£48) 100% (£240)
16 years old and over 25% (£71) 20% (£57) 25% (£71) 10% (£28) 20% (£56) 100% (£283)

Reward fees

Reward fees are paid on top of maintenance payments.

Reward fees are given depending on the age and needs of the child or young person.

We operate a tiered system.

To find out about each tier use the below links:

Tier 1: children or young people who have expected levels of needs for their age.

Tier 2: children or young people that exceed the expected level of needs for their age.

Tier 3: children or young people with disabilities who have severe needs.

Tier 4: children and young people who have profound physical and learning disabilities.

There are criteria for each tier and an assessment is made to determine the correct tier for each child when they are referred to the Fostering Team.

Tier 1

Tier 1 payments are made for children and young people with the expected level of need for their age.

This tier would be based on a child or young person’s:

  • lived experiences
  • loss
  • trauma
  • separation they have endured.

We look at the anticipated impact these experiences have on their development, emotional wellbeing and behaviours.

Children or young people assessed as tier 1 may present with challenging behaviours and be experiencing some issues, such as:

  • child sexual exploitation
  • physical or verbal aggression
  • school refusal
  • offending behaviour.
Age of child Maintenance fee Tier 1 reward fee Weekly payment total
0 to 4 years old £192 £141 £333
5 to 10 years old £214 £201 £415
11 to 15 years old £240 £271 £511
16 to 17 years old £283 £271 £554
18 to 22 years old £200 £0 £200

Tier 2

Tier 2 payments are for children and young people that exceed the expected level of need for their age, also known as exceptional or complex needs.

The child or young person's needs in tier 2 are beyond the expected needs for children who suffered trauma through harm and neglect.

Some examples include:

  • daily verbal and physical aggression towards the carer
  • frequent missing episodes such that daily life is affected (for example, they are missing school daily or going missing frequently at night)
  • risk of self-harm and need constant vigilance
  • age-inappropriate daily bed wetting and smearing
  • developmental or health needs leading to frequent hospital appointments
  • higher than usual daily demands on carer.

Tier 2 will also include any children or young people who are being stepped down from a residential placement and need high levels of care to adjust back to living in a family environment. 

Carers matched with children who are assessed as being tier 2 will receive an additional payment, known as a matching fee, of £100 per week per child. This is a reward payment and is only for the carer.

Age of child Maintenance fee Tier 2 reward fee Matching fee (tier 2 only)  Weekly payment total
0 to 4 years old £192 £141 £100 £433
5 to 10 years old £214 £201 £100 £515
11 to 15 years old £240 £271 £100 £611
16 to 17 years old £283 £271 £100 £654
18 to 22 years old £200 £0 £0 £200

Tier 3

Tier 3 payments are for children or young people with disabilities who have severe needs and would meet the criteria for a service from the children with disabilities teams.

If you're fostering children or young people in tier 3, you may also qualify for:

  • short breaks
  • practical help at home with personal care
  • supervision at home or in the community
  • support with complex behavioural challenges because of physical or neurodevelopmental disability.
Age of child Maintenance fee Tier 3 reward fee Weekly payment total
All ages £240 £700 £940

Tier 4

Tier 4 payments are for children and young people who have profound physical and learning disabilities.

Tier 4 would include examples such as a child or young person:

  • with severe cerebral palsy or other spinal or brain damage who needs help to undertake all physical activities
  • with no communication skills where adjustments cannot be made to support them to communicate (for example, by using sign language or other tools)
  • who finds it very difficult or impossible to learn new skills and will not make progress across all or most areas (for example, cognitive, emotional, social, physical) of their development
  • with medical needs requiring waking night-time carers as well as constant day time vigilance.
Age of child Maintenance fee Tier 4 reward fee Weekly payment total
All ages £240 £800 £1040

Parent and child placements

Parent and child placements are offered to support the parent in developing their skills and capacity to meet their child’s needs.

Foster carers will complete specific training to be approved for parent and child placements.

Find out about types of foster care

Becoming a parent and child carer

If you're new to fostering, we can tailor your assessment to a parent and child carer role.

If you're already a generic carer but would like to become a parent and child placement carer, you'll need to complete our in house parent and child training and be invited to our closed parent and child support groups.

Once this is complete, you would have a change of approval to reflect this.

The supervising social worker and the trainers would complete the assessment.


Parent and child placements have an all inclusive fee structure:

Assessed (12 week guideline)

Placement Weekly payment total
1 child and 1 parent £1024
1 child and 2 parents £1145

Supported parent and child placement

Placement Weekly payment total
1 child and 1 parent £815
1 child and 2 parents £880

Pre-birth placement (6 week guideline)

Placement Weekly payment total
expectant mother £617

If a parent decides to leave the placement, the foster carer will continue to receive the parent and child rate until the matter is brought before the court or other appropriate decision-making forum.

When a decision has been made for a child to remain with the foster carer and the carer cannot offer support for another parent and child placement, a bed blocking fee will be paid at £230 per week.

Council Tax contributions

All our approved foster carers are offered a contribution towards their annual Council Tax payments.

This figure is based on the average Council Tax cost for Medway households.

A payment of £310 per year will be made to the primary carer in November of each year following the foster carers’ first year of approval.

The payment is made after the annual review each year.

This payment does not depend on:

  • if you live in Medway
  • if you have a child in placement (you must be available for future placements).

If you do not live in Medway, your local council will not be involved.


In addition to the fees, allowances, and Council Tax contributions, we offer a variety of concessions. These are given seasonally to approved foster carers.


Age of child Transport Miles per week based of 45p  (miles)
0 to 4 years old £48 106
5 to 10 years old £54 120
11 to 15 years old £60 133
16 years old and over £71 157

Supported lodging fees

Placement Total
Supported lodgings £330
Staying put £200

Tax and fostering

In general, fostering pay is not subject to Income Tax.

This is because the Qualifying Care Relief Tax Scheme (QCRTS) is quite generous, so you'll not normally have any taxable profit.

You'll need to do a simple calculation at the end of each tax year to see what your tax threshold is for that year and whether you have gone over it.

If you have, this is called taxable profit and you may have to pay tax.

Self-employment and foster care

Since April 2003, all foster carers have been treated as self-employed.

Most foster carers do not have to pay tax, thanks to the QCRTS.

Under this scheme, you do not have to keep detailed accounts and receipts, and it’s easy to work out if you owe any tax.

The scheme also means you:

  • can earn up to £10,000 from fostering before you must pay tax
  • receive tax relief for every week you foster a child.

If you need help registering, read our registering as self-employed guidance section.

Tax support for foster carers

HMRC has 2 tools to help foster carers with the registration and self-assessment process:

Registering as self-employed

When you become a foster carer, you're classified by HMRC as self-employed for tax and national insurance purposes.

You'll need to apply with HMRC for self-assessment by 5 October of the year you were approved to become a foster carer.

For example, if you were approved in January 2022, you must register for self-assessment by 5 October 2022.

You must register for self-assessment even if:

  • you have no tax to pay
  • do not make a profit from fostering.

To register, you'll need your National Insurance number and the date you were approved as a foster carer.

You can register by:

Annual tax return

Once you have registered for self-assessment, you'll need to fill out a self-employed tax return every year.

This includes details of your fostering earnings and any other income you may have.

You must keep a note of anything you earn from fostering.

Claiming benefits

Being a foster parent can affect the benefits you get.

As a foster carer, you can still claim for means-tested benefits depending on your circumstances.

Your fostering allowance is not usually counted towards your total income when calculating your eligibility to receive them.

If you’re claiming benefits, you'll need to tell the organisation that pays you that you’re also getting foster care allowance.

Use a benefits calculator to check what benefits you’re eligible for.

For more help on how your benefits may change, contact:

  • the organisation that pays you
  • Fosterline (a free fostering advice service).