When a local authority asserts that the ‘in-house’ unit cost of foster care is substantially lower than that of an external independent and voluntary sector fostering provider (IFP), the comparison is likely to require closer inspection. Evidence collected for NAFP suggests that unit cost comparisons are often materially flawed. This briefing lists the main areas where the comparison goes wrong and suggests actions that may be taken to question unit cost calculations produced by local authorities.

Comparative unit costs of foster care (July 2016)

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