Tax, benefits and insurance
Registering as self-employed
When you start fostering you need to register as self-employed. If you don't you may be charged a penalty. HM Revenue and Customs have produced an eLearning course called Tax for foster carers that will help you to register as self-employed. The course covers the following topics.
- Registering as self-employed
- National Insurance and Income Tax
- Qualifying care relief
- Working out your profit
- Fostering in a partnership
- Tax returns and payments
- Keeping records
- Universal Credit and benefits
There are three ways to register as self-employed:
- online, using a computer and the Internet
- by telephone - by contacting the helpline
- in writing - by filling in a form CWF1.
The Fostering Network can support you with registering.
Fosterline - Specialist tax and benefits advice and support to the foster carer and members of the fostering household.
The current rules mean many UK foster carers now pay no tax on the money they earn from fostering. Foster carers can be exempt from tax on all or most of their fostering income, depending on:
- how many children they look after
- whether or not it is a full tax year
- whether or not there are other foster carers in the same household.
Find more information on the
Tax and benefits
The GOV.UK website has information about help with the cost of fostering.
The Fostering Network website has a section all about finances.
When you become a foster carer you must inform both your home and car insurance company in writing. You will need to ensure that you have fully comprehensive car insurance.
The Fostering Network now provides legal protection insurance cover for foster carers and former foster carers. The policy covers carers who look after a young person up to the age of 21, subject to the terms and conditions of the policy. The policy covers legal costs arising as a result of your work as a foster carer only.
Health, safety and wellbeing
What to do if you don't get on with the child in your care
Ideally, all placements of children will be well-matched and planned, but ultimately a foster carer has the right to turn down placements.
Some children will fit in better with your family than others and some will also take longer to adjust to living in your home. However, if there was a real problem, then you must discuss this with your supervising social worker. The likelihood is that if you are finding things difficult then the child may also be feeling this is not the right place for them.
Hopefully with extra support or training, caring for that child or young person becomes easier and more enjoyable. However, sometimes, it may be best for a child to move to another foster family.
If you are concerned that the child in your care is self-harming, you should seek advice. Visit the National Self Harm website for guidance, including some ideas about distraction techniques.
Fire safety in the home
The fire service is offering safe and well checks to all foster carers. This free service involves a full home fire and safety risk check, including installation of free smoke alarms if needed.
Foster carers will need to know the law, types of seats and the safe use of car seats.
Up to date information can be found on GOV.UK and the website.
If you are worried about the child or young person in your care using the internet, there is plenty of help available. Visitand
Activities to support wellbeing
Activities to support wellbeing are promoted via youth channel of the Family Information Service called Activities Oxfordshire. The website lists 750+ local providers of activities for young people.
Education and learning
Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, 0-25
The Virtual School for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, 0-25 is a partner to all schools in being the most ambitious and aspirational corporate parents we can be. The headteacher and her team ensure that schools, social workers, carers and other professionals understand statutory responsibilities and are aware of the best practice.
is Oxfordshire information website for children and young people in Oxfordshire. It replaces and combines early information and engagement websites for young people including Big Voice Oxfordshire, Spired, Connexions Oxfordshire, Oxcentric, Boombox and the Oxfordshire Survival Guide for Young People.
The information website for young people delivers on the following statutory duties and priorities:
- Post-16 learning offer
- Activities to Support wellbeing for 13-19 (up to 25 with LDD)
- RPA/100% Participation
It also supports many other areas including consultations, safeguarding and public health priorities, the SEND local offer and more.
Oxme.info quick guide
- Learning and employment content is popular on the site, with 200+ opportunities for young people.
- Activities to support wellbeing are promoted via youth channel of the Family Information Service called Activities Oxfordshire. The website lists 750+ local providers of activities for young people.
- Young people can report their learning destination and request information and support.
- There are sections on the website for young carers, young people in care, young people with SEN and disabilities. The information was created with the support of specialist staff, service users, providers and young people.
- Multiple contacts, comment and enquiry routes including newsletters, Twitter, Facebook and secure online web-chat during core hours (10 am-4 pm Mon-Fri). Young people work on the site directly and were involved in design and testing.
- for young people with fewer qualifications and/or LDD.
Help with decision-making
As a foster carer, you will find you need the authority to make certain day to day decisions about the child. You may decide if they are allowed to stay overnight with a friend, or whether they can go on a school trip.
Delegated authority is the term used when the responsibility for making these types of day to day decisions about a child has been passed into your care.
How delegated authority is decided
Before placing a child into your care, there is a placement planning meeting. In this meeting, we decide delegated authority. We detail situations where you can make decisions about the child without first talking to your social worker.
The Fostering Network useful information about decision making.