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KEEP is an intervention designed to help carers and special guardians feel confident and skilled in their parenting of children and, as suggested within the independent evaluation of KEEP Standard (DfE, Ipsos Mori, 2016), helps to maintain placement stability.
Placement disruption has a financial cost, as well as a psychological cost to the child/young person, their carers, and the workforce.
- The financial cost of a placement disruption ranges from £805 - £1,700 and increases each time there is a referral. The recruitment and approval of each new foster carer unit costs around £13,000.
It is therefore vital that appropriate budget and staffing resources are dedicated to this area of social care. There is significant evidence that KEEP ensures carers feel valued, skilled and supported. This limits the likelihood of carers ending placements or leaving their role prematurely.
- The estimated cost to a local authority of supporting a foster placement is £45,982 per year, including all social care activity to support the placement, care plans and reviews, as well as placement fees/allowances. This is in stark contrast with the estimated cost of a residential care placement, at £140,814 per year (also including all social care activity, care plans, reviews and fees). - Ward, Holmes and Soper (2008), in Holmes (2014).
It is important to understand the costs and outcomes of your existing training programmes and support (offered to carers and special guardians) when considering KEEP. Only then can commissioners and budget holders make informed decisions about interventions based on finances, resources and measureable outcomes.
The cost for implementing and running KEEP in the first year is approximately £46,700. This includes operational costs, training and consultation plus local costs, such as staffing. Within this first year, running two KEEP groups could reach at least twenty carers and special guardians.
The ongoing running cost after the 1st year package outlined above is in the region of £20,540, which is based on £16,700 of local staffing costs plus fidelity and support fees payable.
If two groups of ten carers attended KEEP per year the cost would be in the region of £1,000 per carer, or £62.50 per week/session. Even if only one group of ten carers could attend, the cost would still be in the region of £2000 per carer or £125 per week/session.
There is a detailed fee schedule available and individual site costs, from implementation to sustaining post facilitator accreditation, can be acquired from Colin Waterman.