Laura Sharman 17 January 2020

Councils warned to cover foster carers’ school transport costs

Council have been reminded they should be providing financial support to foster parents to help pay for school transport costs by the local government ombudsman.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has issued the warning after a foster carer was told her children were not eligible for free school transport despite living further away than the statutory walking distance. The investigation found Wolverhampton Council had wrongly told the carer this should be paid for out of her fostering allowance.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said: ‘We have previously issued two reports about very similar matters, and I wrote to the Association of Directors of Children’s Services to highlight the issue at the time of the 2017 report. The council should therefore have been well aware its policy was flawed.

‘I am pleased the council has since agreed to improve its policies and procedures, and has agreed to look at the cases of other foster carers who have been affected by the policy.’

The council has agreed to review its Fostering Service Terms and Conditions to ensure all eligible children receive the free home to school transport they are entitled to.

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