Since foster carers are self-employed, they are not eligible to join the Council’s pension scheme.We strongly advise carers to apply for a stakeholder pension provided by a reputable company, as this would be in your long- term interest. Brighton and Hove Families, Children and Learning is not in a position to advise which pension scheme carers should consider. We do not wish to be unhelpful on this key issue but think it is in your interest to receive expert independent financial advice on pension and tax issues.

Legal insurance

The Council pays the membership fees to Fostering Network for all foster carers. Carers get £100,000 legal expenses to cover against criminal cases caused by a carer’s fostering duty. There is a £50 excess. The insurance will pay out if carers are found guilty as long as the carers entered a plea of not guilty and the solicitor appointed by the insurers feels that they have a case; Fostering Network make clear that they would not expect this policy to be used to allow people to abuse children. Before consulting a solicitor, you must contact the Fostering Network legal expenses help-line.

Household and injuries insurance

All foster carers must have adequate household insurance and have informed their insurance company or broker that they are caring for children looked after by Families, Children and Learning; you must provide your supervising social worker with a copy of the insurance company’s acknowledgement of that notification. Carers should ask their insurance company to confirm in writing that for the purposes of the insurance policy, children they are looking after either as foster children or on a respite care basis, are regarded as members of the family during their placement. It is also necessary to have a public liability component in the home contents insurance, which covers damage or injury to a party outside the household.

Because foster carers looking after children and young people may incur loss or damage to their property and/or injury to themselves or their property, the Council has arranged insurance policies that provide various levels of compensation for loss or damage to property (comprising household building and contents but excluding cars).

Carers may claim on the Council’s policy if damage and/or theft has been caused by a young person whilst in their care and their own insurance does not cover the loss or damage (there is a £50,000 limit). The Council also has a policy which provides compensation to foster carers and their children under 18 years permanently living with them for certain major injuries caused by children fostered.

All claims on the Council’s insurance against damage/theft and major injury are subject to a policy excess of £100 for each incident. You should seek advice from your supervising social worker and if agreed by a senior manager financial assistance can be made with policy excess payments.

In the case of Family and Friends foster carers, they are also covered under the Council's insurance policy, as above (per Steve Frost, 09 September 2010).

In the case of parent and baby placements, the Council's insurance policy only covers the child in placement, not their parent.

Motor insurance

All foster carers who have a car, which is used for transporting looked after children, must have adequate motor insurance. Fostering Network advise that carers should inform their insurance company providing the policy for their car that they are fostering. You may wish to contact Fostering Network to obtain their advice about insurance companies who provide car insurance which takes greater account of the needs of foster carers. Brighton and Hove Families, Children and Learning is unable to recommend whether you should take out comprehensive insurance as well as third party, but discussion with an insurance broker or company may help to clarify whether this would be beneficial for you and your family.

You should provide documentary evidence of insurance cover to your supervising social worker for any vehicle used for transport purposes for a child. Any damage caused to a vehicle by a foster child is excluded from the insurance covered by the Council’s insurance policies. However, if your car is damaged by a child/young person placed with you, and you find your insurance policy does not cover repair of damage caused, or there is a policy excess, you should consult your supervising social worker, and if agreed by a senior manager, financial assistance may be considered for repairs or policy excess payments. You may also wish to consult Fostering Network.

The law states that seat belts must be fitted to all cars under a certain age, in both the front and the back of the vehicle and, if seat belts are fitted, any person travelling in the car must wear those belts. Therefore, a vehicle may only carry the same number of passengers as it has seat belts. All motor insurance policies are interpreted in accordance with these seat belt laws, which you will find elsewhere in this Handbook. If an accident occurs and there are more persons in the car than there are seat belts, insurers may not be in a position to help with a claim, especially one relating to passenger injury. To comply with seat belt laws, remember that it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that any passenger, including any child, wherever possible, is securely and correctly seated and seat belts provided are being worn.

With motor insurance, the permitted use to which any vehicle is put is very specific. Any change in the use of that vehicle, however slight it may appear, may mean that you are not covered for that change of use or circumstances. You should check with your insurance company or broker to see that you have the correct policy, in order to avoid problems occurring at a later date.




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