Merthyr Tydfil will become the first council in south Wales to offer to halve people’s council tax as an incentive to become foster carers.
The council’s cabinet has agreed to offer mainstream foster carers living in Merthyr Tydfil a council tax reduction of 50 per cent and a detriment payment to Merthyr Tydfil mainstream foster carers living outside the area.
A report to the council’s cabinet says offering foster carers a council tax reduction has been successful in recruiting foster carers for a number of English and north Wales councils.
The authority has a plan in place designed to increase the number of foster carers in the county borough as the insufficient number of Merthyr Tydfil foster carers has led to reliance on independent fostering agencies and out-of-county placements.
As at March 31, 2019, the number of children placed with independent fostering carers was 45 including four placed within Merthyr Tydfil and 41 placed outsidec.
In Merthyr Tydfil council foster carers are, on average, paid fees and allowances of £342 per week, which is £17,784 per year.
The average cost of an independent fostering agency placement is £754.60 per week or £39,239 a year so this is £21,455 more per child per year than for in-house carers.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, November 20, Councillor Chris Davies, the cabinet member for social services, said they’d be the first council in south Wales to roll out this offer.
He said: “It will be an amazing opportunity for Merthyr Tydfil, us as a council, and for children and young people.
“It will achieve really fantastic outcomes for our children and also give opportunities for people to offer something back to our young children.”
Cllr Lisa Mytton, the cabinet member for education, said if they retain their current foster carers and encourage more people to become foster carers they can keep young people in an area they’re familiar with.