Mr and Mrs X, who are foster carers for the Council, complain the Council failed to provide them with appropriate financial support for a looked after child (Y).
Mr and Mrs X were told by the Council they should pay to transport Y to school 4.6 miles away out of their fostering allowance. They complained the Council left them with out of pocket expenses when they expected to receive a mileage rate.
The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and and found fault causing injustice.
To remedy the injustice to Mr and Mrs X the Council has agreed to :
- apologise to Mr and Mrs X for the faults we have identified; and
- reimburse them the travel allowance for the period they transported Y to and from Y’s school at a rate of 40p per mile.
To remedy the injustice to others the Council should:
- review its Foster Care Finance Handbook, school transport policy and its procedures to ensure looked after children who are ‘eligible’ children receive the free home to school transport they are entitled to;
- write to all its foster carers inviting them to complain to the Council if they believe they were wrongly denied free home to school transport for their foster children who were ‘eligible’ from 2015 onwards. The Council should consider each case on its merits,
- explain its decision to the foster carer in writing and signpost those carers who remain dissatisfied to us; and
- ensure foster carers receive clear information about allowances and expenses payable and how to access them before the child is placed to enable them to make informed decisions.
Ombudsman satisfied with Council's response: 19 June 2018.