Foster carers have called for a review of the current allowance — which hasn’t changed since 2009 — to take into account the increased cost of living.
The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, said that the consultation process is being undertaken by Tusla to help inform the development of the 2022-2025 Strategic Plan on Foster Care.
Mr O’Gorman said: “Through this consultation, foster carers highlighted the need for the foster care allowance to be reviewed in light of inflation and increases in social welfare allowances.
"Tusla is currently finalising the plan, which will then be considered by my Department.”
He was responding to a parliamentary question posed by Cork North-Central TD, Colm Burke, regarding whether serious consideration will be given to increasing the rate of foster care allowance to take cost-of-living increases into consideration.
The current allowance for foster carers of a child under 12 years of age is €325 per week while the rate for children over the age of 12 years is €352 per week. The rates have not been increased since 2009.
Ahead of Tuesday’s budget, Epic (Empowering People in Care) is seeking an increase in foster care allowances, and investment in training and resources, in order to help retain and recruit foster carers.
Highlighting the lack of an increase since 2009, the group’s pre-budget submission said:
Mr Burke said foster parents are facing increased costs in areas including food, rent, and utility bills.
He added: “Recognition needs to be given to that. They are providing an extremely valuable service and children going through foster care overall do very well because they are getting the support from foster carers.”
Tusla kicked off a national campaign earlier this month to recruit more foster carers to meet the growing demand for people to look after children.
There were 5,860 children in care at the end of the first quarter of this year, of whom 3,748 were in general foster care. 1,500 were in the foster care of relatives.