This year’s budget let down foster carers, Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman has admitted.
Foster carers receive an allowance of €325 a week for children under the age of 12 and €352 for those 12 and over. The rate of the allowance has remained unchanged since 2009 and, with the cost of living soaring, many had high hopes that this year there would be an increase.
“I’d hoped to be able to address the issue of foster care allowances in this budget,” Minister O’Gorman told On The Record with Gavan Reilly.
“I’d hoped to be able to provide an increase, I wasn’t in the end and I recognise the real frustration out there among foster parents.”
Mr O’Gorman praised foster carers for doing “incredibly important work” and added that he hoped there were other ways in which he could support them:
“In terms of the overall financial package that was available to me and my department this year, we weren’t in a position to make the increases to foster care allowances for 2023,” he continued.
“But I have met with Bernard Gloster [Tusla chief executive] this week. We discussed the issue and we looked at what measures we can put in place on a shorter-term basis to meet the current cost of living increases that everyone is facing.
“And I’m also reviewing a very significant document that TUSLA has brought forward in terms of supporting foster care and there’s a range of issues.
“There’s the issue of the rate of the allowance, the issue of the six month break before they can get child benefit, the fact that they can’t get the back to school allowance.
“So there’s a range of issues that I’d be looking to engage with both within my department and other departments in terms of next year’s budget.”
At the end of March 2022, there were 5,860 children in foster care in Ireland.
Main image: Roderic O'Gorman. Picture by: Julien Behal Photography / RollingNews.ie