Sunday, July 14, 2019


Does anyone think they get paid enough for their work? I bet not. Somewhere in the darkest recesses of all our minds is the sweet notion that we are worth more.

I bet that Jeff Bezos thinks that the family members who invested a few thousand dollars in his Amazon start-up don't really deserve to be worth billions of (his) money in return, and that he (Jeff) should actually be even richer. And at the other end of that chain I bet everyone who works for Jeff thinks they're being short-changed.

I get fed up with people in public services oozing; "Look, don't over-ask for things, don't you know we're overworked, under resourced, unappreciated and under-paid."

Not all of them, but too many. Too many health and education workers. 

The only professionals in public service who don't do this one seem to me to be Social Workers. Oh and the police. Even though those two professions probably have a better case than most.

Mind, working out how much someone should be paid is a minefield. Who'd be an employer working out the value of someone's efforts?

Actually, all of us Foster Carers are stuck with this exact dilemma, namely how much money to 'pay' someone.

I'm talking pocket money.

Our eldest foster child has been campaigning that his pocket money should be upped. His manifesto is rich in sporadic detail. He's persevering too.

He's aged 15 and gets £10 a week, regardless of whether he does anything around the house. People who've never managed a teenager will scoff that I'm lax, but he's 15 okay? 15 is the arch-age of teenhood. Give him a job and he turns into the Incredible Sulk and you get a job so badly done it takes twice the time to rectify it that it would take you to knock it off yourself.

So, yeah...he gets £10 and one of the main challenges is what would it get upped to if I upped it? £10 is a nice round sum.  £10 actually sounds like it's worth more than £10. 

£11? - stupid fiddly number. £12.50? - give me a break, I'd be asking him for change and you can't do that. So obviously £10 naturally goes up to...£15, which is a 50% rise.

See, pocket money has to be more than inflation linked, more than cost of living linked; it has to also be age-appropriate linked.

One mite who came to us told me she got 10p pocket money per week, which I found shocking because there's literally NOTHING she could buy unless she saved for weeks. I figure it was a ruse by the parent to get out of being asked for things in shops. Rotten.

My 15yr old cites the pocket monies allegedly paid to his friends, linking this to our shame at being stingy by comparison and causing him embarrassment that besides being in fostering he's also in poverty. He makes the case that we are out of touch with the real world, in which a trip to Cineworld can consume 2 weeks-worth of income if you include Pick'nMix, Coke and Taco Bell.

I don't think many families manage the heat of how best to award pocket money. It's even more pyrotechnical in fostering.

It ought to be a reward and remuneration for things well done. Otherwise we're teaching our children you can get something for nothing. The majority of children in care come from homes needing benefits, don't get me wrong - our benefit system is something we should all be proud of. But it can be perceived as unearned income. Then their Foster Carers give them pocket money for nothing, it must seem like their life on benefit has begun! There's something here that could be better.

So I've had this idea, right. And when I tell it to you you'll think the same as everyone else I've told it to. It's brilliant.

Parents STOP giving their children pocket money. Instead they give a fixed amount to the child's school. Every Friday afternoon each pupil gets a pay packet which reflects their attendance, behaviour and academic performance. 

Child puts in a good week; get's a decent reward. Like how life should be and (kind of) is.

My scheme would improve school and home life.

Great idea innit?

I recommend this Bill to the House.


  1. It is interesting that 'chores' and 'chore charts' are a huge big deal in the USA and not so much in other parts of the world, thank heavens. Our agency has a pocket money scale so we stick to that. I learned the hard way taking our little ones shopping and of course they wanted Barbie's sports car and My Little Pony sparkling stables... I explained that they didnt have enough money, husband is a bit more of a soft touch. Anyway, Barbie is happy with her new wheels, and the Ponies have a grand stable to sleep in, that is when the cat isnt in there...

  2. Interesting, a pocket money scale, I'll tip that up to Blue Sky.
    Thanks for your comments!

  3. In Bristol there is a pay scale for pocket money too, though some carers say to their child if they do exta things around the house they'll get more than the minimum required to be given. Tasks depend on age but for little ones I just get them to feed the pets and make their beds. For older ones I get them to help with the bins, put their laundry in the machine and tidy their rooms once a week (if staying that long).
    Mind for some kids I dont get them to do anything as don't stay long enough.
    Thanks, Dana

  4. Sounds like you got that one sorted Dana. The whole thing is useful for teaching youngsters to ask for things in a proper way and negotiate sensibly.