The HSE has advised me that 249 children were placed in private foster care at a cost of €6,727,698 in 2009, 304 children were placed in private foster care at a cost of €9,581,360 in 2010 and 360 children were placed in private foster care at a cost of €12,893,243 in 2011. The information requested for 2007 and 2008 is not available at this time.
While the HSE was unable to provide details of precise costings to date in 2012, it has advised me that there are currently 251 children in private foster care at a weekly cost of €342,265.
The private foster care company costs include the recruitment, assessment and training of the foster carer. The private company also provides the link worker (professional social worker) to provide support and supervision to the carer,ongoing training, and depending on the circumstances of the placement, support may be available on a 24 hour basis. The HSE generally utilise private foster care companies where children have a higher level of need including stepping down from high support placements.
Private foster companies provide services to separated children seeking asylum and to the emergency out of hours placement service.
The HSE retain the approval authority of the foster carer in all cases.