Foster carers may be exempted from paying council tax, in a bold new initiative being considered by Cheshire East Council.
The proposal is part of a concerted move to help incentivise the recruitment of new foster carers and offer practical support for the 150 households already providing foster care across the borough.
The children’s services team is looking to recruit an additional 25 households over the next year, helping ensure that local children in the borough who need foster care can remain at their local school.
The idea of a council tax exemption builds on a number of successful initiatives the council has taken in recent years, including a ‘capacity scheme’ which enables carers to apply for grants and loans to adapt/extend their properties if they wish to foster more children.
In addition, Cheshire East is close to agreeing a new collaborative approach to foster care with four neighbouring councils (Stockport, Tameside and Trafford) which will build upon the successful Four4Adoption model which has resulted in a successful increase in the number of adoptions in the borough.
Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cheshire East Council’s cabinet member for children and families, explained: “Providing a foster home for a child or young person is a wonderfully fulfilling thing to do.
“Foster carers make a massive contribution to society and we are keen to provide all the support and incentives we can to ensure that we have enough to cater for the children who need them.
“We have been listening to foster carers to see what else we can do to support them in their vital work. The idea of a council tax exemption is being looked at by a number of other councils and is just one of the common sense ways to offer practical support that we’re currently exploring.”