As of April 2013 foster carers across Birmingham will be left paying between 14% and 25% of their current housing benefits whether there is a child occupying the room or not.
There are approximately 2000 ‘children in care’ at any one time in Birmingham, according to Birmingham City Council, whom they are responsible for and “aim to find stable, secure and caring homes” for. These looked after children may be housed across a number of in house homes and private sector accommodation, but as of 2009 1190 of children in question were in foster care. That’s 60% of all Birmingham’s looked after children who’s carers potentially stand to shoulder the short fall.
This is down to a technicality with the current benefits system, according to the current outlines “when calculating how many bedrooms a family unit require, a room for a foster child will not be taken into account. Therefore, a household that has an extra room for a current or potential foster child will be treated as under-occupying”.
So for a foster carer who has one bedroom set aside for a fostered child, and is in receipt of the average housing benefit of £89.27 per week, will now have to pay £12.50 of that back, a shortfall that could be at the cost of the child. If a carer has two or more rooms for foster children that amount jumps £22.32.
Birmingham City Council Adopt/Foster Appeal.