Residents are being urged to become foster carers with a raft of incentives on offer as Bury's fostering team is recognised with a new status. 

The borough's fostering team is now a "Fostering Friendly" employer, a programme by The Fostering Network, which helps organisations to actively support fostering, and in particular, foster carer employees.

The team offers a flexible working pattern to foster carers and those going through the application process, who can access a minimum of five days extra paid leave for their commitments.

These involve meetings with social workers and other agencies, attending training, settling young people into their new home and more.

A council tax discount of 50 per cent is one of the new rewards on offer for those who become foster carers.

Increased payments and allowances are also being provided to carers in recognition of the valuable work they do in giving children a home.

Cllr Lucy Smith, cabinet member for children and young people at the council, said: “Giving children a loving home is the best thing we can do for our children, that is why we continue to strengthen our support for Bury foster carers.

"We continue to work with our fostering community to ensure that children within our care are looked after and are provided with the best support.

"I am delighted that we can now offer further support to our foster carers.

"We are also working with The Fostering Network to implement the new Mockingbird Family Model which is an innovative method of delivering foster care, emulating a family unit with a hub carer providing support to foster carers and the children they care for.”

Further benefits for Bury foster carers include:

Adjustment Fee

Foster carers could receive a discretionary payment equivalent to the Foster Carer Professional Fee for two weeks at the end of a challenging placement, when a long-term placement comes to an unexpected end, a difficult disruption or, at a time of bereavement, to offer some time and space to carers without worrying about having no income from fostering.

Short Breaks

Foster carers will receive an annual Short Break Allowance of seven nights for which they will be paid their fee while the child stays with a different foster carer. Carers will receive the allowance even if they do not take the short break.

Retainer Fee

This is to help carers worried about being able to financially manage if there was a gap between caring for children. It is linked to the day rate equivalent of the Professional Fee for four weeks maximum per year per fostering household.

PAMS Assist/Silver Cloud

This an employee benefit scheme, extended to foster carers, which covers emotional/wellbeing support as well as financial and legal advice. Carers have reported that this additional support is welcome, and cited mental health support following the pressures of the Covid pandemic as reassuring.

Max Card

The Max Card is the UK’s leading discount card for cared for and looked after children. Families can use their Max Card at venues across the UK to get free or discounted admission. Bury Council already purchases the Max card for our children and young people aged three years and over.

Blue Light Card

This is a discount service for the emergency services, NHS, social care sector and armed forces, providing members with thousands of discounts online and on the high street. Blue Light card holders can download an App and access a huge range of discounts for the family. This is beneficial for fostering families to get discounts on a variety of things including activities, day trips, goods, cinema visits etc. The cost of this benefit is £5, payable every three years. We will encourage our carers to apply for this themselves and claim this back from us via their expenses.