Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is to discuss a temporary increase in allowances paid to foster carers and kinship carers at the upcoming round of meetings this week.
Head of children’s services at CnES Jack Libby is to ask councillors to approve a raise the fostering allowance by 5%, with a review in May next year, to help carers cope with the cost-of-living crisis.
In his report to members of the education, sport and children’s services committee, which is to meet at 10am on Tuesday (29 November), Mr Libby said: “A number of foster carers and kinship carers have made representations to children’s services in terms of the impact on their household income of the cost-of-living crisis and how the allowance has not kept pace with inflation.
“One carer has reported how she will ensure her foster child will not go cold this winter, but not having had an increase in the fostering allowances for seven years, something must give.
“She goes on to explain that activities and excursions will need to be reduced if the fostering allowance does not increase.”
The proposed temporary solution of increasing the carer allowance by 5% comes while discussions are taking place over increasing and standardising fostering and kinship allowances across Scotland.
Meanwhile local authorities, including those in Orkney and Shetland are looking at interim solutions in an effort to avoid losing the vital care provided to the most vulnerable children.
The additional cost to fund the 5% increase across the islands, between October this year and May next year, is estimated at around £8.5k.
The risk if it is not agreed, says Mr Libby, is that the Western Isles could lose foster carers, resulting in greater financial cost should a child or children have to be placed in residential care.