According to the Telegraph, the average cost of raising a child per year is £10,917, or £910 per month. However, there are also fluctuations between regions, with London unsurprisingly being the most expensive area. Costs are also thought to depend on the age of the child, and will fluctuate on a yearly basis. Education and child care costs are also included in that figure.
What is the cost?
If you never use nurseries or childcare, and the young person is at a state school, the more realistic average yearly cost is £4159 or £347 a month. Figures from the Children’s Mutual are quoted a £3762, or £313 a month, whereas This is Money estimates it at £600 a month (including £311 on childcare). In London that price is estimated at over £100 more, just for basic items.
Even if your child is in state school, there are still costs to factor in, such as uniform, school trips, school dinners, books, equipment, travel and after school activities. This will likely add another £100 to the monthly bill (more depending on the area you live in).
Putting all these figures together, an estimated cost of raising a child per month is roughly £450 or £550+ in London, without childcare or private school charges.
What do the costs include?
So what does this figure include? Of course it includes the essentials like food and clothing, but it also takes into account a whole list of items, such as:
- Leisure activities
- Pocket money
- Personal items
- Christmas and birthday presents
- Driving lessons
- Electronics and larger items
What is not included?
What this does not include in the fixed costs of running a home, such as mortgage payments, rates, taxes, utilities and maintenance costs. Although electricity will rise more per occupant, most of these costs will need to be paid regardless of extra people in the household.
The fostering allowance
When fostering a child, you receive a carer allowance to cover all these costs, including the fixed costs of running a home that have already been mentioned. This means there is a discretionary amount left over – should this be spent on the foster child or is it the foster parents cash to do with as they wish?
What fostering includes
When a foster carer takes on this role, they are effectively giving up their right to work elsewhere; instead they now work from home Although fostering should not be considered a 9-5 job, it is a career, although very unique. The carer is on call 24/7, 365 days a year, in order to provide the young person with the stability and support they need.
In essence, a foster carer could be giving up a job that pays £2000 a month which is essential to pay the everyday bills of the family home plus their own children’s care. The fostering carer allowance recognises that carers work from home and compensates accordingly.
Not just the money
To be a good foster carer money should never be the overriding aim, but it is now recognised that it is no longer a voluntary endeavour. Instead it is a work from home occupation that requires money, both through physical costs and time invested. No carer should be out of pocket, and there should be enough money in the carer allowance to be able to treat the foster child as one of their own.
Whether the foster parent spend any surplus money out of their carer allowance directly on the foster child or uses it to benefit the family as a whole is at the discretion of each family. After all, a secure and happy family unit ultimately provides the foster child with the stability and support required.