Journal Article

Gaining Satisfaction? An Exploration of Foster-Carers’ Attitudes to Payment

Derek Kirton, Jennifer Beecham and Kate Ogilvie

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 37, issue 7, pages 1205-1224
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online July 2006 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Gaining Satisfaction? An Exploration of Foster-Carers’ Attitudes to Payment

Show Summary Details


The payment of foster-carers has long been controversial, reflecting both philosophical debates as to whether fostering should be a voluntaristic or professional activity and concerns about placement provision and service delivery for children. Although many research studies have touched upon the question of foster-carers’ satisfaction with payments, this has not been explored in any depth. Drawing on findings from a study involving 1,181 foster-carers in twenty-one agencies, this article attempts to provide such an analysis with four main objectives. These comprised: examining associations between attitudes towards payment and demographic, socio-economic and fostering career variables; comparing responses between carers based in local authorities (grouped according to levels of payment and performance criteria) and independent agencies (IFAs); gauging the influence of carers’ ‘orientations’ towards foster-care as a ‘professional’ task; and analysing payments in terms of their different components, such as fees, maintenance and certain designated expenses. Among many detailed findings to emerge were the generally low level of satisfaction among local authority carers, especially in comparison with their IFA counterparts and the growing support among carers for salaried status. There was mixed evidence on links between attitudes towards remuneration and the performance of agencies.

Keywords: foster-care; remuneration; professionalization; independent fostering agencies

Journal Article.  7799 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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