Council tax discount for foster carers
This month, members of Flintshire’s Cabinet will be asked to approve, in priniciple, the introduction of a Council Tax Discretionary Discount Scheme for Foster Carers, to take effect from April 2020.
They will be asked to consider three options on the level of discount that would be affordable to the Council, being a 25%, 50% or 75% discount, noting that a 50% discount would be the preferable option to align to the Council Tax discount schemes for foster carers that are in operation in other local authorities in the region.
Foster carers are vital to the support needs of young people in care. Foster carers provide family based substitute care in a warm, safe, attentive and nurturing environment. Children who are looked after are often extremely vulnerable and the role of foster carers is critical to their protection.
Currently, the Council, in some instances, needs to place children with private sector foster carers, often further away, which results in the Council paying a premium rate.
By seeking the approval of a new council tax discount scheme for local authority foster carers, it may help to retain and grow the number of foster carers in Flintshire and bring savings to the Council by not having to place children out of county.
Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Services, Councillor Christine Jones, said:
“Support is needed to encourage people into local authority foster care and this is a really good initiative. The benefits for the family are evident, but there are advantages for the Council also. The cost of offering a 50% discount to foster carers in Flintshire (£92k) could be recouped should only three children be placed with in-house carers for a 12 month period rather than external fostering agencies.
“By doing so, the Council would be ‘leading-the-way’ by recognising the vital public work foster carers do in partnership with us to protect vulnerable children.”
Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Management and Assets, Councillor Billy Mullin, said:
“This is yet another example of how innovative Flintshire County Council is - introducing a discretionary discount when there is currently no specific exemption or discount scheme for foster carers in Council Tax legislation. Introducing this scheme in April 2020 would make the Council one of only two local authorities in Wales to offer such a scheme.”