Foster carers in Flintshire could be offered a 50 per cent reduction in their council tax bill as part of a bid to encourage more people to provide a stable home for children.
It comes as senior politicians are looking to tackle the rising cost of paying for private foster carers, who are often located outside the county.
The latest figures published show the local authority provided out of county placements for more than 150 children in the last financial year, which resulted in an overspend of almost £1.4m.
Chief executive Colin Everett said it was hoped that by offering an incentive, it will increase the number of foster carers in Flintshire and result in savings.
According to the council’s projections, the £92,000 cost of offering the discount could be recouped if just three children are placed with in-house foster carers for 12 months.
Mr Everett said: “We’ve got a really good track record of recruiting and retaining foster carers.
“This is something we’re quite keen to offer to make foster care much more cost effective for families.
“They use their own home as a secure place for people to be supported, so we think it’s a good initiative.
“One of the challenges for us with social care is the more you commission out, the more the market has control of rates.
“We’re trying to to keep a balance of direct and indirect foster carers.”
Members of the ruling Labour cabinet will be presented with three options when they consider the scheme on Tuesday.
They will be asked to consider where to provide a council tax reduction of either 25, 50 or 75 per cent for foster carers.
A 50 per cent discount has been identified as the preferred option, in line with similar incentives offered elsewhere.
If approved, the initiative would be introduced from April next year.
Cllr Christine Jones, Flintshire’s cabinet member for social services, said: “Support is needed to encourage people into local authority foster care and this is a really good initiative.
“The benefits for the family are evident, but there are advantages for the council also.”
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).