Charging Policy for Children in Care
How does the charging policy work
Cheshire West and Chester Council has a policy which encourages parents of children who are in foster care or residential care to agree with their Social Worker an amount which will contribute towards the cost of providing care:
- The amount will take account of parents' earnings
- The age of the child
- The length of time the child lives away from home
- It does mean that parents whose children are not living with them will be required to give details of their earnings.
Deciding/agreeing payment levels
Whilst the policy is intended to work through agreement and is based on what the council believes to be a fair and realistic scale of payments, it is accepted that a dispute or disputes may occur. Your Social Worker can put the parents' objections to their managers for decisions but if agreement still cannot be reached the council may apply to the Court for a Contribution Order.
The amount of contributions asked of parents is related to the costs of placing children with foster carers.
In some cases, parents will not be asked for a contribution. Such cases include parents of:
- Children accommodated for less than 14 nights
- Children subject to Interim Care Orders
- Children over 18 years of age; or
- Where parents are claiming Income Support, Family Credit or Disability Allowance.
Will there be regular reviews
The amount of parental contribution can change as circumstances change. This will be considered at regular meetings, which are held to consider the child's progress. Parents should notify the Authority of changes to their financial circumstances.
What can I do if I disagree
Firstly, you should discuss your objections with your Social Worker. If you still disagree with the Contribution Notice, you can refuse to sign it. However, Cheshire West and Chester Council may apply to Court for a Contribution Order.
The Council has a separate complaints procedure if you wish to make a formal complaint. Further information is available from your Social Worker.